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Sermons. Page. 

XVIII. The Lord's Prayer ... 1 

XIX. The Traveller's Prayer ... 38 

XX. Death Unavoidable .... 60 

XXI. Two Important Questions Answered . . 96 

XXII. Acquaintance with God, and the Benefits which 

Result from it . . . .126 

XXIII. Love to God and Man, the Fulfilling of the Law 

and the Prophets .... 156 

XXIV. The Wise Man's Counsels to his Pupil ; or 

the True Method of Giving, Receiving, and 
Profiting by Religious Instruction . .180 

XXV. Christ Crucified, a Stumbling-block to the Jews, 

and Foolishness to the Greets . . 200 
XXVI. Design and Use of Jewish' Sacrifices : that 

of Christ the Only Atonement . . 239 
XXVII. The Prayer of Agur . . . .260 

XXVIII. The Glory of the Latter Days . . 292 
XXIX. Observations on the Being and Providence of 

a God ..... 323 
XXX. The Corruption that is in the World through 

Lust . . . . . 354 

XXXI. Divine Revelation .... 387 

XXXII. The Love of God to a Lost World . . 426 




Matthew vi. 5 — 13. 

5. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are ; 

for they love to pray standing in the synagogues, and in the 
corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily, 
I say unto you, they have their reward. 

6. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when 

thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret • 
and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly, 

7. But when ye pray use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do ; 

for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 

8. Be not ye therefore like unto them ; for your Father knoweth 

what things ye have need of before ye ask him. 

9. After this manner therefore pray ye : Our Father, which art in 

heaven, hallowed be thy name ; 

10. Thy kingdom come ; thy will be done in earth as it is in 

heaven ; 

11. Give us this day our daily bread • 

12. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors ; 

13. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil ; for 
thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. 


In speakmg on this subject, I shall first consider, — 

I. The nature of prayer. 

II. The object of prayer. 

III. The end aimed at by praying. 

IV What we are to avoid in order to pray success- 

V. Those petitions that contain all that is necessary 
for the welfare of the supplicant in the Lord's Prayer. 

VI. The doxology. 

I. Of the nature of prayer; or, an answer to the 
simple but very important question, What is prayer ? 

Prayer has been defined, " An offering of our desires 
to God for things lawful and needful, with a humble 
confidence to obtain them through the alone merits of 
Christ, to the praise of the mercy, truth, and power of 
God ;" and its parts are said to be " invocation, adora- 
tion, confession, petition, pleading, dedication, thanks- 
giving, and blessing." Though the definition be imper- 
fect, yet, as far as it goes, it is not objectionable ; but the 
parts of prayer, as they are called (except the word peti- 
tion) have scarcely any thing to do with the nature of 
prayer ; they are in general separate acts of devotion, 
and attention to them in what is termed praying, will 
entirely mar it, and destroy its efficacy. 

It was by following this division that long prayers 
have been introduced among Christian congregations, by 
means of which the spirit of devotion has been lost ; for 
where such prevail most, listlessness and deadness are 
the principal characteristics of the religious services of 
the people ; and these have often engendered formality, 
and frequently a total indifference to religion. Long 
prayers prevent kneeling, for it is utterly impossible for 
man or woman to keep on their knees during the time 
such last. Where these prevail, the people either stand 


or sit. Technical prayers, I have no doubt, are odious 
in the sight of God ; for no man can be in the spirit 
of devotion who uses such ; it is a drawing nigh to God 
with the lips, while the heart is, almost necessarily, far 
from him. 

The original words in ancient languages generally 
afford the best definitions' of the things of which they 
are the signs ; for as names were first given from neces- 
sity, and for convenience, terms were used which were 
borrowed from actions by which some remarkable pro- 
perty or properties of the subject were expressed. " For 
the imposition of names cannot be considered as arbi- 
trary, but for some cause, on account of some eminent 
property, attribute, or action ; in short, for some reason 
appertaining to the thing which bears that name ; and 
hence," says a learned philologist, "the verb and the 
adjective, between which there is a great affinity, gene- 
rally point out the nature of the noun ; the one express- 
ing its action and state, the other its property and qua- 
lity. Hence, too, it appears the verb is the proper radix 
or root of the word ; for when a noun cannot be brought 
to a verb, it will be impossible to have a clear conception 
of its meaning ; and it will appear to be a mere arbitrary 

Let us apply these observations to the original words 
of the text : When thou prayest, Orav 7rpoffevxv> The 
word 7rpoatvxn, prayer, is compounded of npog, to or with, 
and evxv, a vow ; because, to pray aright, a man binds 
himself to God as by a vow, to live to his glory, if he 
will grant him his grace. The verb rnxopai signifies to 
pour out prayers or vows, from sv, well, and ^su, / pour 
out, probably alluding to the offerings or libations which 
were poured out before or on the altar. As in ancient 
times prayers were scarcely ever offered to the Divine 
Being without sacrifice or oblation, hence the reason 



the word which is used to express prayer. Sacrifice was 
therefore understood to be essentially necessary to prayer; 
because the supplicant, conscious of his guilt, brought a 
sacrifice to make atonement for it ; and to this he joined 
fervent prayer, that the Object of his worship would 
accept the sacrifice in reference to the purpose for which 
it was offered. And on the other hand, sacrifice always 
implied prayer — prayer, that the evils deserved and 
dreaded might be turned away, the transgression par- 
doned by which the guilt was incurred, and divine 
strength obtained by which future transgression might 
be prevented; and all this would be naturally accom- 
panied with serious resolutions to avoid the evil and 
choose the good in future ; and to live so as not to dis- 
please him from whom the supplicant sought so great a 
favour : hence the vow. 

Now these prayers, resolutions, and vows were all 
founded on the merit of the sacrifice which was brought, 
and not on account of the mere act of praying, or the 
words produced. As prayer, therefore, which necessarily 
implied the earnest desire of the heart to receive mercy 
from the hand of God to pardon sin, and grace to help 
in time of need, is ever accompanied with a due sense 
of sin, and the supplicant's total unworthiness of the 
blessings he requests, knowing that he has forfeited life 
and every good by his transgressions, and cannot depend 
on anything that he has done, is doing, or can do, to 
atone for his sin ; therefore he brings his offering ; and 
the offering of sacrifice is essential to the completion or 
perfection of his prayer, and the gracious answer which 
he solicits. This has been the true notion of prayer, 
not only among the Jews, but even among all heathen 
nations, where any sacrificial system prevailed; and should 
be the notion of it in all Christian countries, where the 
passion and death of Jesus Christ are considered a 


sacrifice for sin ; and this is the light in which they are 
universally exhibited, both in the Old and New Testa- 

A proper idea of prayer, therefore, is "the pouring 
out the soul before God, with the hand of faith placed 
on the head of the Sacrificial Offering, imploring mercy, 
and presenting itself a free-will offering unto God, giving 
up body, soul, and spirit, to be guided and governed, as 
may seem good to his heavenly wisdom ; desiring only 
perfectly to love him, and serve him with all its powers, 
at all times, while it has a being." 

As a man, to pray aright, must be in this spirit, must 
feel himself wholly dependant on God, therefore prayer is 
the language of dependence : he who prays not is endea- 
vouring to live independently of God : this was the first 
curse, and continues to be the great curse of mankind. 
In the beginning Satan said, " Eat this fruit, and ye 
shall then be as God ;" that is, ye shall be independent. 
The man hearkened to his voice — ate the fruit — sin 
entered into the world; and, notwithstanding the full 
manifestation of the deception, the ruinous system is 
still pursued ; man will, if possible, live independently 
of God; hence he either prays not at all, or uses the 
language without the spirit of prayer. 

II. Who or what is the object of prayer ? 

As the object of true faith is God, so is he the object 
of prayer ; but the word of God, and especially his 
promises, are also the objects of prayer; for it is the 
fulfilment of the promises contained in that word, unto 
which the prayer of faith must have its eye directed. 
But even the Scriptures are but a secondary object of 
faith and prayer ; they, it is true, contain God's truth ; 
but they cannot accomplish themselves ; God alone can 
give them their fulfilment. Both the understanding and 
the will are here engaged, for truth is the object of the 



understanding ; as good is the object of the will, we be- 
lieve the truth, in order to get the good. Therefore the 
Lord saith, " Take with you words, and come unto the 
Lord ; say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive 
us graciously ; so will we render the calves of our lips ;" 
that is, we shall present him the sacrifice promised, and 
give him due praise for the mercy he sends. See Hos. 
xiv. 2, and Heb. xiii. 15. 

God, therefore, on his mercy-seat, is the Object of 
prayer ; and to fix the mind, and prevent it from waver- 
ing, the supplicant should consider him under such at- 
tributes as are best suited to his own state and wants. 
There are three general views which may be taken of 
this divine Object : infinite Wisdom, infinite Power, in* 
finite Goodness. There are few blessings we want that 
do not come from one or other of these three sources : 
we are either ignorant, and want instruction ; weak, and 
need power ; or wretched, and need mercy. As we feel, 
so we should pray ; and in order to feel aright, and pray 
successfully, we should endeavour to find out our state ; 
to discover our most pressing wants ; and to find these, 
we need much light, which the Holy Spirit alone can 
impart : hence, strange as it may appear, we must pray 
before we begin to pray. We must pray for light to 
discover our state, that our eye may affect our heart, in 
order to go successfully to the great Object of prayer, to 
get our wants summarily supplied. We must pray first 
to see what we need, and then we shall pray to get our 
wants supplied. 
.+•-- III. What is the end proposed by our praying ? 

The end is, to get our souls finally saved; to become 
wiser and better ; to answer the end for which God has 
made and preserved us ; viz., to love him with all our 
soul, mind, and strength, and to live only to glorify him. 
The end for which Christ came into the world, and shed 


his blood for us, viz., that we might be saved from our 
sins.; that we might bear the image of the heavenly 
Adam, as we have borne the image of the earthly Adam; 
and show forth the virtues of him who has called us 
from darkness into his marvellous light ; to follow him, 
not only in his immaculate life, but to " go about doing 
good ;" and, as far as we can, live to promote the happi- 
ness of our fellow-creatures. In a word, to regain here 
that state of holiness from which we have fallen — the 
image and likeness of God ; for in this image and like- 
ness we were created. From these we have fallen ; and 
to restore us to these, the Lord Jesus was incarnated for 
us, and died, the Just for the unjust, that he might 
bring us to heaven. 

This is the great and important end for which we 
should pray, and for which we should live. Life, at 
longest, is but short, and every hour has work for itself; 
therefore there is no time to spare ; not one hour that we 
can afford to lose ; and, besides, life is uncertain ; we 
cannot assure ourselves of one day or hour ; no, we can- 
not be certain that we shall live beyond the present 
moment. What need have we then to pray; to call 
incessantly upon God, that the great work for eternity 
may be speedily completed, that when he doth appear, 
we may be found of him in peace, without spot, and 
without blame, and have an entrance into the holiest by 
the blood of Jesus. Let us live, then, in order to die 
well; and live well, that we may live to all eternity! 
No man is fit to live, that is not fit to die ; and no man 
is either fit to die safely, or to live usefully, who is not 
living to God. Hence the absolute necessity for prayer, 
that we may receive mercy and grace. 

IV What are we to avoid, in order to pray success- 

Our Lord answers this question, by showing us that 

8 the lord's prayer; 

there are three evils which we must avoid in prayer. 
1. Hypocrisy. 2. Mental dissipation. 3. Much speak- 
ing, or unmeaning repetition. 

1. Hypocrisy — " When ye pray, be not as the hypo- 

The word hypocrite signifies one who personates an- 
other — a counterfeit, a dissembler — one who would be 
thought to be different from what he really is; who, 
although he is not religious, wishes to be thought so ; 
and performs as many duties of it as he can, and in the 
most ostentatious way, in order that others may be per- 
suaded that the character which he assumes is genuine ; 
and that he is a true follower of God, though he has 
nothing of religion but the outside. 

The Jewish hypocrites " loved to pray standing in the 
synagogues, and in the corners of the streets, that they 
might be seen of men." What were called the phylac- 
terical prayers of the Jews were long ; and the canonical 
hours obliged them to repeat those prayers wherever 
they happened to be at such hours ; and so full were 
they of a vain-glorious hypocrisy, that they are said to 
have contrived to be overtaken in the streets and market- 
places by the canonical hours, that they might be seen 
by the people, and applauded for their great and exem- 
plary devotion. As they had no piety but what was 
outward, they endeavoured to let it fully appear, that 
they might make the most of it among the people. They 
prayed standing, for it would not have answered their 
end to kneel before God ; for then they might have been 
unnoticed by men, and consequently have lost that re- 
ward of which they were in pursuit — the applause of 
the multitude. I have seen some rabbins, the most 
celebrated in Europe, walk the streets of a great city, 
uttering in the most solemn manner their prayers, with 
the head and eyes frequently turned towards heaven, 


apparently unconscious of those who met them in the 
streets. These might have been sincere, but their con- 
duct appeared very similar to that of their ancient bre- 
thren, which our Lord here reprehends. 

But persons professing Christianity may be equally 
hypocritical, though in a different way : all showy reli- 
gion is a hypocritical religion. Imposing rites and cere- 
monies, calculated merely to blind the eyes of the un- 
derstanding, by exciting carnal feelings — speaking to the 
animal passions instead of to the mind, in order to please 
men, and make their party strong — is hypocrisy, abomi- 
nable hypocrisy in the sight of God. All ministers and 
others, who study to use fine expressions in their prayers, 
rather complimenting than praying to God, rank high 
among the hypocrites ; and instead of being applauded 
by men, should be universally abhorred by their congre- 
gations. That prayer which is the genuine effusion of a 
heart deeply impressed with its own necessities, and the 
presence of God, is invariably as simple as it is fervent 
and unostentatious. 

2nd. Our Lord warns us against oriental dissipation. 
" But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet," 
&c. Though this exhortation may particularly concern 
private prayer, yet there is a sens6 in which it may be 
applied to prayers in public also. The address is very 
emphatic and impressive, Su Se orav trpoatyxn ^o-eXOs «e 
to rafisiov gov, " But thou (whosoever thou art, Jew, Pha- 
risee, or Christian), when thou prayest, enter into thy 
closet." Prayer is the most secret intercourse of the 
soul with God, and, as it were, the conversation of one 
heart with another. The world is too profane and trea- 
cherous to be of the party and in the secret ; we must 
shut the door against it, with all the affairs that busy 
and amuse it. Prayer requires retirement, at least of 
the heart ; for this may be properly termed the closet 

10 the lord's prayer; 

in the house, of God ; which house the hody of every 
real Christian is. So St. Paul, 1 Cor. iii. 16. To this 
closet we must always retire, even in public worship, 
and in the midst of company. The very eyes should be 
guarded ; they often affect the heart in such a way, as 
to mar and render unprofitable this most solemn act of 
devotion. The objects that they see will present images 
to the mind, which call off or divide the thoughts, and 
produce that wandering of heart so frequently complained 
of by many religious people, whose own unguarded eyes 
and thoughts are the causes of those wanderings which 
spoil their devotions. I never could understand how 
any man can have a collected mind, or proper devotion 
in prayer, who, while he is engaged in it, has his eyes 
open; not, indeed, fixed on one point, but wandering 
through the house, behoving the evil and the good. He 
must be distracted, and his prayers such, unless tech- 
nical, or got by heart: then, indeed, he may say Ins 
prayers, but he cannot pray them. To fix the heart, is 
it not well to get this impression fixed deeply in the 
mind, " I am praying to that God who, in his infinite 
condescension, calls himself my Father ; and he ' seeth 
in secret: — every feeling, apprehension, volition, and 
operation of the heart is under his eye ? " A sense of 
the divine presence has a wonderful tendency to quiet 
and fix the heart. 

3rd. Our Lord guards us against vain repetition — using 
unmeaning words, or words expressing no sense which 
the heart at the time apprehends. Saying the same 
tilings over and over again, generally to fill up the time, 
or, as our Lord states, under the supposition that they 
shall be " heard for their much speaking." Our Lord's 
words are, pr) jSarroXoyjjtnjrt, " Do not battologise." " This 
word," says an ancient Greek grammarian, " came from 
one Battus, who made very prolix hymns, in which the 

A DISCOURSE ON MATT. VI. 5 — 13. 11 

same idea frequently occurred." The following obser- 
vations on this point, by the late very learned Mr. Gil- 
bert Wakefield, I have ever admired: "A frequent 
repetition of awful and striking words may often be the 
result of earnestness and fervour, see Dan. ix. 3—20 ; 
but great length of prayer, which will of course involve 
much sameness and idle repetition, naturally creates 
fatigue and carelessness in the worshipper, and seems to 
suppose ignorance or inattention in the Deity ; a fault 
against which our Lord more particularly wishes to 
secure them, see ver. 8;" and he illustrates this from 
the Hmutontimoreumenos of Terence : — 

Ohe ! jam desine deos, uxor, gratulando dbtundere, 

Tuam esse inventam gnatam ; nisi illos ex Isuo mgenio judicas 

Ut nil credas intelligere, nisi idem dictum sit centies. 

" Pray thee, my wife, cease from stunning the gods with thanks- 
givings because thy daughter is in safety : unless thou judgest of 
them from thyself, that they cannot understand a thing, unless they 
are told of it a hundred times." 

I have said elsewhere, speaking on this subject, prayer 
requires more of the heart than of the tongue. The 
eloquence of prayer consists in, the fervency of desire, 
and the simplicity of faith. The abundance of fine 
thoughts, studied and vehement motions, and the order 
and politeness of the expressions, are things which com- 
pose a mere human harangue, not a humble and Chris- 
tian prayer. Our trust and confidence should proceed 
from that which God is able to do in us, and not from 
what we say to him. " It is abominable," said a Mo- 
hammedan, " that a person, offering up prayers to God, 
should say, 'I beseech thee by the glory of thy heavens,' 
or ' by the splendour of thy throne ;' for conduct of this 
nature would lead to suspect that the Almighty derived 
glory from the heavens, whereas the heavens are created, 



but God with all his attributes is eternal and inimit- 

It was a maxim among the Jews, that "He who mul- 
tiplies prayer must be heard." And this would be cor- 
rect, did it only refer to a continuance in prayer, or 
supplication : but the urging the same request, and 
speaking the same words repeatedly, without proper 
attention and reverence, is that which our Lord con- 
demns, and of which, not only the heathens, but Jews 
and Mohammedans, are guilty ; and not a few of those 
called Christians, follow their steps. 

It is not merely to tell God our wants, or to show him 
our state, that we are to pray ; for he knows this state, 
and these wants much better than ourselves ; but to get 
a suitable feeling of the pressure of these wants, and the 
necessity of having them supplied ; and this we obtain 
by looking into our hearts and lives ; for here particularly 
the eye affects the heart, and from the urgency of the 
necessity we feel excited to pray earnestly to God for 
his mercy : and our confessing them before him affects 
us still more deeply, induces us to be more fervent, and 
shows us that none but God can save and defend. And 
it is only to people who feel thus, that God will show 
his mercy. He who obtains this blessing of God after 
feeling that he was undone and lost without it, will duly 
prize it, watch over and keep it, and give God alone the 
whole glory of the grace that has brought him into this 
state of salvation. 

V I come now to consider those petitions which con- 
tain all that is essentially necessary for the present and 
eternal welfare of the petitioner, which are all comprised 
in the Lord's Prayer. 


" After this manner, therefore, pray ye," ver. 9. 


We learn from Luke xi. 1, that it was in consequence 
of a request of one of his disciples, that our Lord taught 
them this prayer : "And it came to pass, that, as he was 
praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his 
disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us how to pray, as 
John also taught his disciples. And he said unto them, 
When ye pray, say, Our Father," &c. 

Forms of prayer were frequent among the Jews, and 
every public teacher gave one to his disciples. Some 
forms were drawn out to a considerable length, and from 
these abridgments were made : to the latter sort, the 
following prayer properly belongs; and, consequently, 
besides its own important use, it is a plan for a more 
extended devotion. 

What a satisfaction is it to learn from God himself, 
with what words and in what manner he would have us 
to pray to him, so that we might not pray in vain ! A 
king who draws up the petition which he allows to be 
presented to himself, has doubtless the fullest deter- 
mination to grant the request. This is a most important 
consideration, and, properly viewed, will tend much to 
strengthen our faith when we pray to Him who has given 
us this form. 

It may be justly said that we do not consider the value 
of this prayer ; the respect and attention which it re- 
quires, the preference to be given to it, and the spirit in 
which it should be offered. "Lord, teach us how to 
pray !" is a prayer necessary to prayer ; for unless we be 
divinely instructed in the manner, and influenced by the 
spirit of true devotion, even the prayer taught by Jesus 
Christ himself may be repeated without spiritual profit. 
They are to be pitied, who, in their public devotions, 
neglect this prayer. To say it is not enjoined thus, is a 
pitiful objection. Christ used it as it is, and taught his 
disciples so to use it. Though capable of great exten- 

14 the lord's prayer; 

sion, yet tlfere is no evidence that any such, public use 
was made of it. If it contain only the principles of 
prayer, and the model according to which our prayers 
should be formed, he who taught knows best what is con- 
tained in these principles ; and when in simplicity and 
godly sincerity we offer to him these very principles, in 
which he will ever recognize his own hand and his own 
heart, he will not fail to give us those blessings which 
are included under these petitions, even to their utmost 

But even they who use it in their public devotions, 
seem to use it in the wrong place ; should we not begin 
our addresses to God with this prayer ? and then, after 
that manner, continue our requests to a reasonable length. 
But, whether used in the beginning, middle, or end, let 
it never be forgotten. 

Our Father. — It was a maxim of the Jews, that a 
man should not pray alone, but join with the church ; 
by which they particularly meant, that whether alone, or 
in the synagogue, he should use the plural number, as 
comprehending all the followers of God. Hence they 
say, " Let none pray the short prayer" — i. e., as they 
expound it, the prayer in the singular, but in the plural 

This prayer was evidently made in an especial manner 
for the children of God ; and hence we are taught to 
say, not my Father, but our Father. " The heart of a 
child of God is a brotherly heart, in respect of all other 
Christians : it asks nothing but in the spirit of unity, fel- 
lowship, and Christian charity, desiring that for its bre- 
thren, which it asks for itself." 

The word Father, placed here at the beginning of the 
prayer, includes two grand ideas, which should serve for 
a foundation to all our petitions : 1. That tender and re- 
spectful love which we should feel for God, such as that 


which well-bred children feel for their fathers. 2. That 
strong confidence in God's love to us, such as fathers 
have for children. Thus all the petitions in this prayer 
stand in the strictest reference to the word father; 
the three first, to the love we have for God, and the 
four last, to that confidence which we have in the love 
he bears to us. The relation in which we stand to this 
first and best of Beings, dictates to us reverence for his 
person, zeal for his honour, obedience to his will, sub- 
mission to his dispensations and chastisements, and re- 
semblance to his nature. When we consider that he is 
our Father to whom we come, and that it is he who 
bids us come, we may indeed come with boldness to the 
throne of grace, and expect all that he has promised, and 
all that we need. what a privilege is contained in 
this consideration ! 

Which art in heaven ; 6 ev toiq ovpavoiQ, " who art in 
the heavens." The word which properly belongs to things, 
though it was often formerly used instead of who, which 
refers to persons ; but who is certainly the most proper 
in this place ; for there is no ambiguity in the original 
article. But it is a matter of little moment, in our ad- 
dresses to that Being who, in his own person, is neither 
masculine, feminine, nor neuter. He is illud inexprima- 
bUe — that Ineffable, that Inconceivable, — as Cicero ex- 
presses the Supreme Unknown Being. He has, however, 
called himself our Father, and commanded us so to ad- 
dress him. "We see him therefore as our Father, and lose 
sight of all other distinctions. 

In heaven, or — in the heavens. This phrase in Scrip- 
ture seems used to express : 

1st. His omnipresence. "The heaven of heavens 
cannot contain thee," 1 Kings viii. 27 ; that is, Thou fil- 
lest immensity. 

2ndly, His majesty and dominion over his creatures. 


"Art thou* not God in heaven, and rulest thou not 
over all the kingdoms of the heathen ? " 2 Chron. 
xx. 6. 

3rdly, His power and might. " Art thou not God in 
heaven, and in thy hand is there not power and might, 
so that no creature is able to withstand thee ?" 2 Chron. 
xx. 6. " Our God is in heaven, and hath done what- 
soever he pleased," Ps. cxv. 3. 

4thly, His omniscience. "The Lord's throne is in 
heaven : his eyes behold, his eye-lids try the children 
of men," Ps. xi. 4. " The Lord looketh down from heaven ; 


5thly, His infinite purity and holiness. "Look down 
from thy holy habitation, from heaven," &c. Deut. xxvi. 
15. " Thou art the high and lofty One, who inhabitest 
eternity, whose name is holy," Isai. lvii. 15. 

So that when we address him as our Father, who is 
in the heavens, we should remember these things as de- 
scriptive of the Being, and the attributes of that Being 
whom we address. 

first petition. 

Hallowed he thy name ! ver. 9. 

This may be considered as a petition with which we 
begin our prayer. Now that we are about to address 
Thee, may we conceive aright of thy majesty, and come 
before thee with the deepest reverence and humility ! 

The word sanctify literally means to make holy. In 
this sense we can never apply it to God ; but the original 
word ayiaaOrjTb) comes from a, which signifies negative, 
and yq, the earth ; a thing separated from the earth, or 
from earthly purposes and employments. As the word 
sanctified, or hallowed, in Scripture, is frequently used for 
the consecration of a thing or person, to a holy use or 
office ; as the Levites, the first-born, the tabernacle, the 


temple, their different utensils, &c. ; which were all set 
apart from eyery earthly, common, or profane use, and 
employed wholly in the service of God ; so the divine 
majesty may be said to be sanctified by us, in analogy to 
those things ; viz., when we in our hearts separate him 
from, and in our minds, conception, and desires, exalt 
him above earth, and all created things. When, in our 
addresses to him, we thus separate him from all human 
passions — from changeableness, fickleness, and caprice. 
When we represent him to ourselves not inexorable, but 
easy to be entreated ; not unwilling, but ready to save ; 
not giving to one more readily than to another who is in 
the same necessitous circumstances ; not as being un- 
willing now to hear and grant, though he may be willing 
at some future time : for these things seem to attribute 
to him not only human passions, but some of the worst 
of those passions. This sanctifying is a thing of great 
consequence ; for improper and unworthy views of God 
often prevent or suspend the exercise of faith ; and we 
too frequently imagine God to be something like to our- 
selves ; irresolute in mind, slow to resolve, difficult to 
be entreated, feeling an unreasonable attachment to some, 
while he feels an abhorrence, equally unreasonable or 
capricious, of others. These views are unworthy of God ; 
He is not like man — He is not like ourselves. To any 
praying soul he is now, and ever must be, the fountain 
of mercy, the well-spring of salvation — always ready to 
pour out the streams of blessedness to all them that call 
upon him ; and ever — "ever more ready to hear than we 
are to pray, and ever wont to give more than we desire 
or deserve." 

Further, God's name signifies God himself, with all 
the attributes of his Divine nature : his power, mercy, 
goodness, justice, and truth ; and this name we may sanc- 
tify or hallow- 

18 the lord's prayer; 

1st.' With -our lips; when all our conversation is holy, 
and we speak of those things which are edifying, and 
meet to minister grace to the hearers. 

2ndly. In our thoughts ; when we repress every rising 
evil, think chastely, repress all unholy, vain, and disor- 
derly imaginations ; endeavouring to have all our tem- 
pers regulated by his grace and Spirit. 

3rdly, In our lives ; when we begin, continue, and end 
all our works to his glory, having an eye to him in all 
we perform ; then every act of our common employ- 
ment will, in his sight, be as an act of religious worship. 
It is possible so to eat and drink, that every meal we 
eat we may feel to be a sacramental repast. 

4thly, We may hallow his name in our familieSj when 
we endeavour to bring up our children in his discipline 
and admonition; instructing also our servants in the 
way of righteousness, and by having the Holy Scriptures 
read, and prayers daily offered in our dwellings. And 
thus our houses may become houses of God, tabernacles 
or temples where prayers and thanksgivings are daily 
laid upon that altar that sanctifies the gift. 

5thly, We hallow God's name, and honour him in a 
particular calling or business, when we separate the fal- 
sity, deception, and lying, commonly practised, from it ; 
buying and selling as in the sight of the holy and just 
God ; not mixing superior and inferior articles together, 
as multitudes do, and selling the mass as pure and un- 
mixed, and of the first quality. How will such dealers 
appear before God ? 


" Thy kingdom come," ver. 10. 

The meaning of this petition we may collect from the 
ancient Jews, and from their expectation. " He prays 

A DISCOURSE ON MATT. VI. 5 — 13. 19 

not at all (say they) in whose prayers there is no mention 
of the kingdom of God." " Let him cause his kingdom 
to reign, and his redemption to flourish; and let the 
Messiah speedily come and deliver his people !" The 
kingdom of Christ, his government in Judea, and his de- 
liverance of them from the Roman yoke, was that which 
they expected ; we know that the great King of this 
kingdom is come, and that the government is on his 
shoulder; and of the increase of his government and 
kingdom there shall be no end. We should pray that it 
may increase more and more, for God has promised that 
it shall be exalted above all kingdoms, Dan. vii. 14 — 27. 
AndLthat it shall overthrow all others, and be at last the 
universal empire, see Isai. ix. 7* The kingdom of heaven 
and the kingdom of God mean, as used in the Scriptures, 
the dispensation of infinite mercy, and manifestation of 
eternal truth by Christ Jesus ; producing the true know- 
ledge of God, accompanied with that worship which is 
pure and holy, worthy of him who is its institutor and 

God's government of the world is called his kingdom, 
and it is called so because it has its laws — all the pre - 
cepts of the gospel; its subjects — all who believe in 
Christ Jesus; and its King — the Sovereign of heaven 
and earth. 

" The kingdom of heaven," says the apostle, " is not 
meat and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the 
Holy Ghost," Rom. xiv. 17* It does not consist in the 
gratification of sensual passions or worldly ambition, it 
is the government of God among men, a counterpart of 
the kingdom of glory upon the earth. It is righteous- 
ness, without mixture of sin; peace, without strife or 
contention; joy in the Holy Ghost — spiritual joy or 
happiness, without mixture of misery. And all this it 


20 the lord's prayer; 

is possible^* through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
to enjoy here below. "How then does heaven differ 
from this state V It makes the righteousness eternal, 
the peace eternal, and the joy eternal. This constitutes 
the heaven of heavens. In the world, his followers 
may have tribulation, but in him they shall have peace ; 
and he has spoken these words unto us that " our joy 
may be full." We should pray that this kingdom may 
speedily come into the nation at large — into the whole 
earth — into our own neighbourhood and family — and into 
our own souls. Ever pray, and constantly look for this 
kingdom — it is coming — it is at hand — it is among us ! 

third petition. 

w Thy will be done," ver. 10. 

This petition is properly added immediately after the 
preceding. For when the kingdom of righteousness, 
peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, is established in the 
heart, there is then an ample provision for the fulfilment 
of the divine will. 

The will of God is infinitely wise, good, and holy ; to 
have it done among men, is to have infinite wisdom, good- 
ness, and holiness diffused throughout the universe, and 
the earth filled with the fulness of God. 

The will of God is the measure of all good ; when 
that is done, everything relative to the end and perfection 
of that thing or person is accomplished. With respect 
to the salvation of man, let us observe, — 

1st. That the salvation of the soul is the result of two 
wills conjoined, the will of God and the will of man. If 
God do not will the salvation of man, man cannot be 
saved ; if man do not will the salvation which God has 
provided for him, he cannot be delivered from his sins. 

2ndly. This petition certainly points out a deliverance 


from all sin, for nothing that is unholy can consist with 
the divine will; and if this be fulfilled in man, surely sin 
shall be eradicated from the soul. 

3rdly. This is farther evident from these words, " as it 
is in heaven ;" i. e., as the angels do it ; for they obey 
with all zeal, diligence, love, delight, and perseverance. 

4thly. Does not the petition plainly imply that we may, 
through Christ strengthening us, live without sinning 
against God ? Surely, the holy angels never mingle sin 
with their loving obedience ; and as our Lord teaches us 
to pray, that we may do his will here, as the angels do 
in heaven, can it be thought he would put a petition in 
our mouths, the fulfilment of which is impossible ? 

5thly. This petition, thus understood, certainly over- 
throws the assertion, " There is no such state of purifi- 
cation to be attained here, in which it may be said, the 
soul is redeemed from sinful passions and desires." It 
destroys this objection, for it is on earth that we are 
commanded to pray, that this will, which is our sanctifi- 
cation, may be done. 

6thly. Our souls can never be truly happy till our wills 
are entirely subjected to, and become one with, the will of 

7thly. How can any person offer this petition to his 
Maker, who thinks of nothing less than the performance 
of the will of God, and of nothing more than the doing 
his own ? 

Some see the mystery of the Holy Trinity in the three 
preceding petitions : The first being addressed to the 
Father, as the source of all holiness. The second, to 
the Son, who established the kingdom of God upon 
earth. The third to the Holy Spirit, who by his energy 
works in men both to will and to perform. 

To offer these three -petitions with success at the throne 
of God, three graces, essential to our salvation, must be 

b 2 



brought into exercise; and indeed the petitions them- 
selves necessarily impose them. 

Faith ; " Our Father." For he that cometh to God 
must believe that he is. 

Hope ; " Thy kingdom come." For this grace has for 
its objects things that are future. 

Love ; " Thy will be done." For love is the incentive 
to and principle of all obedience to God and beneficence 
to man. 

The man who can, with a truly enlightened mind and 
clear conscience, say from the bottom of his heart, " Thy 
will be done," has attained to a very high degree of 
Christian perfection. 

the fourth petition. 

" Give us this day our daily bread," ver. 11. 

God has made man dependant on himself for meat, 
drink, life, breath, and all things ! 

And as he has given us no promise that we shall live 
till to-morrow^ we have only to seek for a daily provision ; 
we should live to -day, and trust for to-morrow, knowing 
that he who lives every present day for eternity is always 
prepared to meet his God. 

But the word tmovoiov has greatly perplexed critics 
and commentators. I find upwards of thirty different 
explanations of this word. It is found in no Greek 
writer before the evangelists ; and Origen says expressly, 
aW tows. ireTrkaoQai vtto tu>v EvayysAwrwv, " but it was 
formed by the evangelists themselves." The interpretation 
of Theophylact, one of the best of the Greek Fathers, has 
always appeared to me to be the best, Aprog nn ri\ ovoia 
kcu ovaTaoH avTcipKtiQ, " Bread necessary for our substance 
and support ;" viz., that quantity and quality of food 
which is necessary to support our health and strength, by 
being changed into the substance of our bodies. The 


"word cn-iovmcv, is compounded of t-m and ovma, upon 
or above our substance ; that is, the bread that is proper 
for the support of the human system. 

There may be an allusion here to the custom of tra- 
vellers in Asiatic countries, who were wont to reserve a 
part of the food given them the preceding evening, to 
serve for their breakfast or dinner the next day. But 
as this was not sufficient for the whole day, they were 
therefore obliged to depend on the providence of God 
for the additional supply. In Luke xv. 12, 13, ovma 
signifies what a person has to live on, his whole patri- 
mony, be it more or less; and nothing can be more 
natural than to understand the compound word nnovaioQ, 
of that additional supply which the traveller needs to 
complete the provision necessary for a day's eating, over 
and above what he had in his possession. See Harmer. 

After all, the word is so very peculiar and expressive, 
and seems to have been made on purpose by the evan- 
gelists, in order to express their Lord's meaning, that 
more than mere bodily nourishment seems to be intended 
by it. Indeed, many of the ancients understood it as 
comprehending that daily supply of grace which the 
soul requires to keep it in spiritual health and vigour. 
He who uses this petition would do well to keep both 
meanings in view ; for he has both a body and soul which 
must depend on and receive from the bounty of God 
their support. 

To make this more impressive, let us note a few par- 
ticulars : — 

1. God is the author and dispenser of all temporal as 
well as spiritual good. 

2. We have merited nothing that is good at his hands ; 
and therefore must receive it as a free gift. " Give us 
to-day," &c. 

3. We must depend on him daily for support ; we are 



not permitted to ask for anything for to-morrow ; give 
us to-day. 

4. That petition of the ancient Jews is excellent : 
" Lord, the necessities of thy people Israel are many, 
and their knowledge small, so that they know not how to 
disclose their necessities ; let it be thy good pleasure, to 
give to every man what sufficeth for food " Thus they 
expressed their dependance, and left it to God to deter- 
mine what was best and most suitable. We also must 
ask only what is necessary for our support, God having 
promised neither luxuries nor superfluities. Daily sup- 
port for our bodies, and daily support for our souls, is 
all that we need, and this we should pray for ; and this 
we have reason to expect from a bountiful and merciful 
God ; and then leave it to him to employ that body and 
that soul as he pleases. We are his servants ; he calls 
us to labour; and no man will expect his servants to 
fulfil their task, if they have nothing to eat. God, our 
heavenly Master, will give us bread for both worlds. 


"And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors," 
ver. 12. 

There is a little difference between this petition, as it 
stands here, and that in the parallel text, Luke xi. 4. 
Here it is, "Forgive us our debts" — atytg 17/iiv ra o^CKr\\iara 
Tjpuv, " forgive us our debts," or what we owe to thee, 
"as we forgive our debtors," rote o^eiXeraig t)fiiov, those who 
stand indebted to us ; understanding in both cases, that 
both were insolvent. We are indebted to thee, but we 
cannot pay ; we are totally insolvent : if thou exact, we 
must be cast into the everlasting prison of hell. Our 
debtors are insolvent; they have neither money nor 
goods : if we go to the extremity of the law, we may 
arrest their persons, sell them and theirs, or put them in, 


prison for life. We are touched with compassion for 
them, and therefore forgive them the debts they owe us. 
Be thou moved with compassion to us — we can pay thee 
nothing of the mighty debt we owe ; therefore, in thy 
mercy forgive our debts to thee ! 

In the gospel of Luke it stands, ttai atytq rjfiiv rag djxap- 
nag 7//iwv, " and forgive us our sins " — our transgressions 
of thy law, which expose us to thy curse. But the next 
clause agrees in substance with the text in Matthew, km 
yap avroi aQiefitv iravTi otpeiKovn r)\iiv—~ "for we also forgive 
every one that is indebted to us ;" that is, all that are in- 
solvent, and cannot pay, to such we forgive the debt, and 
do not, as the law would authorize, sell the person, or 
throw him into prison, where he must He for life. 

In cases of debt, where the person was insolvent, the 
law empowered the creditor to " sell the debtor, and his 
wife, and his children, and all that he had," to pay the 
debt, Matt, xviii. 25. Or to throw the debtor into prison, 
where he was to be detained till he had paid the utter- 
most farthing, Matt. v. 25, 26, xviii. 34. 

Sin is here represented as a debt which we have con- 
tracted with God ; and as our sins are many, they are 
represented as debts — whatever we have done, said, or 
thought, against the holy law of God, is a sin ; or in 
other words, evil thoughts, including unholy and disor- 
derly passions — evil words, whether blasphemous against 
God, or injurious to our fellows ; evil acts, whether 
against the letter or spirit of the law, or against both — » 
are sins, transgressions of the law, and consequently debts 
to divine justice. God made man that he might live 
to his glory, and gave him a law to walk by ; and if, 
when he does anything that tends not to glorify God, he 
contracted a debt with divine justice, how much more 
is he debtor when he breaks the law by actual trans- 
gression ! By the law of his creation man is bound, at 

26 the lord's prayer; 

all times atfd places, to lore God with all his soul, mind, 
heart, and strength ; and this love, which is the principle 
of obedience, must lead to every thought, appetite, pur- 
pose, word, and deed, by which God may be glorified ; 
and this every man owes to his Creator ; and this be 
could have done, had he never fallen from God by a 
transgression which he might have avoided. Ever since 
his fall, even the " thoughts of his heart have been evil, 
and that continually ;" and his words and actions haVe 
borne sufficient evidence of the depravity of his heart. 
Man is wholly sinful ; and in all his acts, a sinner ; 
hence his debt — his inconceivable debt to his Maker. 
From these things the reasonableness of endless punish- 
ment has been argued : " All the attributes of God are 
reasons of obedience; those attributes, in their number, 
as well as in their nature, are infinite ; every sin is an 
act of ingratitude or rebellion against all these attributes ; 
therefore, sin is infinitely sinful, and deserves endless 
punishment." It is enough that the sinner is incapable 
of helping or renewing himself; if he pass through the 
time of probation without seeking and finding the sal- 
vation of God, and die in his sin, where God is he can 
never come — he is incapable of glory ; and as his sinful 
nature continues its operations even in the place of tor- 
ment, these are continual reasons why that punishment 
should be continued. When we can prove that the 
gospel shall be preached in hell, and offers of salvation, 
free, full, and present, be made to the damned, then we 
may expect that the worm that dieth not shall die ; and 
the Jlre that is not quenched shall burn out ! 

We are taught in this petition to ask the forgiveness 
of our sins and debts. Our Lord does not tell us to 
"fall down before the feet of our heavenly Master," and 
say, " Have patience with me, I will pay thee all." No. 
Of this payment, there is no hope ; the thing is impos- 

A DISCOURSE ON MATT. VI. 5 — 13. 27 

sible. Man has nothing to pay; and if his sins and 
debts be not forgiven, they must be charged against him 
for ever, as he is absolutely insolvent, and so completely 
ruined in his moral constitution, that he is past work. 
If he be forgiven and set up anew, and his moral health 
restored, then he may, and will work, as a proof that his 
Lord has had mere} 7 upon him, and not only pardoned 
his offences, but healed his spiritual diseases. Thus 
he will work, not to merit heaven, for this he must have 
as a free gift ; as the kingdom of God, which is of in- 
finite value, cannot be purchased with money — indeed 
he has none — what he has is his Lord's ; and no man 
can purchase God's glory by God's grace. Forgiveness 
and glory must come from the free mercy of God in 
Christ ; and how strange is it, we cannot have the old 
debt cancelled without contracting a new one as great as 
the old ! But the credit here is transferred from justice 
to mercy ! 

While sinners, we are in debt to infinite justice ; when 
pardoned, in debt to endless mercy. And as a continu- 
ance in a state of grace necessarily implies a continual 
communication of mercy, so the debt goes on increasing 
ad infinitum 1 Strange economy in the divine providence, 
which, by rendering a man an infinite debtor, keeps him 
eternally dependant on his Creator ! How good is God ! 
And what does this state of dependance imply? A 
union with and a participation of the fountain of eternal 
goodness and felicity ! 

But there is a condition which God requires, in order 
to the forgiveness of sins — not an equivalent for his trans- 
gression ; of this man is incapable — " Forgive our debts, 
as we forgive our debtors." It was a maxim among the 
ancient Jews, that no man should lie down on his bed 
without forgiving them that had offended him. " For- 
give," says Christ, " and ye shall be forgiven — for, if ye 

b 3 



forgive not jnen their trespasses, neither will your heavenly 
Father forgive yours." That man condemns himself to 
suffer eternal punishment, who makes use of this prayer 
with revenge and hatred in his heart. He who will not 
attend to a condition so advantageous to himself (remit- 
ting 100 pence to his debtor, that his own creditor may 
remit him 10,000 talents), is a madman, who, to oblige 
his neighbour to suffer an hour, is himself determined to 
suffer everlastingly ! 

This condition of forgiving our offending neighbours, 
though it cannot possibly merit anything, yet is that 
condition, without which God will pardon no man. The 
goodness and indulgence of God towards us, is the pat- 
tern we should follow in our dealings with others. If 
we take man for our exemplar we shall err, because our 
copy is a bad one, and our lives are not likely to be 
better than the copy we imitate. We should follow 
Christ, and be merciful as our Father who is in heaven 
is merciful ; surely he who wishes to learn to write 
cannot complain of the fairness of his copy ! Let us 
put a case here : Reader, hast thou a child or servant 
who has offended thee, and humbly asks forgiveness? 
Hast thou a debtor or a tenant that is insolvent, and 
asks for a little longer time ? And hast thou not for- 
given that child or servant ? Hast thou not given time 
to that debtor or tenant ? How then canst thou ever 
expect to see the face of a just and merciful God ? Thy 
child is banished or kept at a distance, thy debtor is 
thrown into prison, or thy tenant is sold up ; yet the 
child offered to fall at thy feet, and the debtor or tenant, 
utterly insolvent, prayed for a little longer time, hoping 
that God would enable him to pay thee all ; but to these 
things the stony heart and seared conscience paid no 
regard ! O monster of ingratitude ! Scandal to human 
nature, and reproach to God ! Go, and, if thou canst, 


hide thyself— even in hell— from the face of the Lord ! 
Learn, therefore, to give and forgive — and never turn 
away thy face from any poor man ; so the face of God 
shall never be turned away from thee. 


" And lead us not into temptation," ver. 13. 

The word irupaonov may be here rendered sore trial, 
from irsipu), to pierce through, as with a spear or spit ; 
used so by some of the best Greek writers. Bring us 
not into sore trial — do not suffer us to be thus tried. 
This is a mere Hebraism, where God is represented as 
doing what he only permits to be done ; the word not 
only implies violent assaults from Satan, but also sorely 
afflicting circumstances, none of which we have yet grace 
enough to bear. This place was so understood by several 
of the primitive Fathers, who have added some such 
words as these, quam ferre non possimus, " which we 
cannot bear." 

The word temptation is generally taken to express a 
strong excitement to sin ; but if the leading of God be 
considered literally here, this sort of temptation cannot 
be meant. St. James settles this point : " Let no man 
say, when he is tempted, TnipaZofitvog, I am tempted of 
God, awo tow Qeov irtipaZ,ovai ; for God cannot be tempted 
with evil, neither tempteth he any man ;" James i. 13. 
Therefore trials and difficulties must be here intended, 
things which may come in the ordinary course of pro- 
vidence, and which the petitioner has not fortitude to 
meet, nor strength to bear ; and which God can either 
turn aside, or give extraordinary strength to support. 
Taking the word in its common^ acceptation, and that 
lead us not is to be understood, do not permit us to be 
overthrown by any devices of our adversaries, whether 
men or devils ; we are to observe that the prayer is not. 

30 the lord's prayer; 

Do not permit us to be tempted ! This God will not 
answer to any man, for temptation is a part of our Chris- 
tian warfare; and Jesus, our Lord and pattern, was 
tempted, and sorely tempted too ; and has, by his temp- 
tation, showed us how we may foil our adversary, and 
glorify our God in the day of such a visitation. The 
original is very emphatic, kcu fit) ttaeveyKris ijfiag «g napaa- 
fxov, " and lead us not in, into temptation." The word 
«<7j vey/cec comes from uafyspo), to bring or lead in ; and 
this is compounded of ug, into, and <pepui, to bring or lead. 
Taking this kind of double entry into consideration, there 
is room enough for the criticism that states, " into is more 
than in." A man may, be tempted, and in a state of 
temptation, without entering into it; entering into it 
implies giving way, closing in with, and embracing it. 
That man has entered into a temptation who feels his 
heart inclined to it, and would act accordingly, did time, 
place, and opportunity serve. Christ was tempted even 
to worship the devil, but he entered not into any of the 
temptations of his adversary ; the prince of this world 
came and found nothing in him, no evil nature within 
to join with the evil temptation without. Now, a man 
may be on the verge of falling by some powerful and 
well-circumstanced sin, he may be in it ; but the timely 
help of God may succour him, and prevent him from 
entering into it ; and thus a brand is plucked from the 
burning. He was heated, yea, scorched by it ; but was 
saved from the desolating and ruinous act. This may 
be one meaning of this most important petition ; and 
thus the poet, — 

O, do thou always warn 

My soul, of danger near ; 
When to the right or left I turn 

Thy voice still let me hear • 


" Come back ! this is the way ; 

Come back ! and walk herein !" — 
O may I hearken and obey, 

And shun the path of sin ! 

We see the progress of temptation in the case of 
Achan, and his entering into it. 1. He saw a rich 
Babylonish garment, and a wedge of gold. There was 
no sin in simply seeing it. 2. When he saw it, he 
coveted it. Here he felt the temptation, it began to gain 
possession of his heart. 3. He took it. Here he entered 
fully into it ; but, conscious of his iniquity, and afraid of 
exposure and punishment, 4. He hid it among the 
stuff — hid it in such a way that it could not be found 
but by God himself. "We see from this, and many 
other cases, that temptation may come, 

1. As a simple evil thought. 

2. A strong imagination, or impression made upon the 
imagination by the thing to which we are tempted. 

3. Delight in viewing it, with the opinion that, if 
possessed, it would be useful. 

4. Consent of the will to perform it. Thus lust is 
conceived, sin is finished, and death is brought forth; 
James i. 15. 

Our Lord's advice to his disciples, Matt. xxvi. 41, may 
be an illustration of this petition, " Pray that ye enter 
not into temptation ; the spirit indeed is willing, but the 
flesh is weak." Ye may be tempted — do not enter into 
it; for though your hearts may be now right with God, 
and ye are now willing to go even unto prison or death 
for my sake, yet thejlesh is weak ; it may be overcome — 
my power only can save you ; but this cannot be ex- 
pected where the means are not used; therefore match 
and pray, or your fall is inevitable." " Lord, let us 
fall into no sin !" Amen. 

32 the lord's prayer; 


" Deliver us from evil," ver. 13. 

Pu<rai rjiiag airo tov irovqpov, Deliver us from the devil, or 
wicked one. 

Satan is expressly called 6 irovripog, the wicked one, 
Matt. xiii. 19, and 38; compare with Mark iv. 15, 
Luke viii. 12. This epithet of Satan comes from novog, 
labour, toil, sorrow, misery, because of the drudgery that 
is found in the way of sin, the toil and sorrow that ac- 
company and follow the commission of it, and the misery 
which is entailed upon it, and in which it ends. This 
is a good description of him who " seeketh rest and 
findeth none," who " goes about as a roaring lion, seek- 
ing whom he may devour ;" of him who can truly say — 
" Where'er I go is hell ; myself am hell." And all they 
who are his children partake of his nature, and of his 
restless wretchedness ; the wicked are like the troubled 
sea, that can never rest, but is always casting up mire 
and dirt. To be delivered from the paw of this lion is 
no small mercy ; to have him bruised under our feet is a 
great triumph. Rabbi Judah was wont to pray thus : 
*' Let it be thy good pleasure to deliver us from impu- 
dence and impudent men ; from an evil man, and an evil 
chance ; from an evil affection, an evil companion, and 
an evil neighbour; from Satan, the destroyer; from a 
hard judgment, and a hard adversary !" I have remarked 
among the simple, honest inhabitants of the counties of 
Antrim and Londonderry, in Ireland, that the common 
name for the devil or Satan, was, The Sorrow ; a good 
sense of the original word, b irovtipog, the wicked one, the 
evil one, the sorrow. He who is miserable himself, and 
whose aim is to make all others so. Where sin is, there 

A DISCOURSE ON MATT. VI. 5 — 13. 33 

is sorrow. Deliver us from the evil, toil, labour, sorrow, 
and misery of sin ! Lord, hear the prayer ! 

Deliver us, pvaai -qfiaQ, a very expressive word, break 
our chains — loose our lands — snatch, pluck us from the 
evil, and all its calamitous issues. The word deliver 
seems to imply that we are already in the hand, or less 
or more under the power, of the adversary. It is an awful 
thing to be either under the power of evil, or in the 
hand of Satan. How earnestly should we offer up this 
petition to God, that we may be saved from a danger 
so imminent ; that, being delivered out of the hands 
of our enemies, we may serve God in righteousness 
and true holiness before him, all the days of our life ! 

Some make but one petition of the two latter ; they 
appear to me to be sufficiently distinct : the former leads 
us to pray against excitement to sin ; the latter, against 
the consequence of having given place to the devil. 
It is a different thing to pray against solicitations to sin, 
and to pray to get the thoughts of our hearts cleansed 
by the inspiration of God's Holy Spirit ; the first says, 
" May we sin against thee no more !" the second says, 
" Deliver us from the power, condemnation, and pollution 
of the crimes which we have already committed !" They 
are very different petitions; and this considered, there 
are doubtless seven petitions in the Lord's Prayer. 


" For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the 
glory, for ever. Amen." ver. 13. 

The whole of this doxology is rejected by "Wetstein, 
Griesbach, and the most eminent critics, as being omitted 
by many ancient MSS., Versions, and Fathers. The 
authorities on which it is rejected, may be seen in the 

34 the lord's prayer; 

above writers* Griesbach seems perfectly convinced that 
it never made a part of the sacred text, originally. 

Now, as this doxology is at least very ancient, and 
was in use among the Jews, as well as all the other 
petitions of this excellent prayer, it should not, in my 
opinion, be left out of the Text, merely because some 
MSS., ancient Versions, and ancient ecclesiastical Greek 
writers have omitted it, and because those which retain 
it write it variously. 

It may be considered as giving a reason for the pre- 
ceding petitions. Thou canst do all that we have re- 
quested ; for " thine is the kingdom," — that kingdom, 
the coming of which thou hast commanded us to pray 
for. See this explained under the second petition. 

" And the power ;" that energy by which this kingdom 
is raised up, governed, and maintained; the power that 
rules over all, and can do all things. 

" And the glory ;" honour and praise shall redound to 
thee in consequence of having established the kingdom 
of grace, by the gospel, upon earth, in sending thy Son 
to bless us, by turning us away from our iniquity, and 
setting up the kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy 
in the Holy Ghost, in the hearts of them who believe. 
To thee alone all this shall be ascribed, for thou art the 
universal King, in the universal kingdom ; Thou art the 
almighty Ruler in heaven, earth, and hell. To thee 
appertains the glory, of having made both worlds, of sus- 
taining them by the word of thy power, and of having 
redeemed mankind by the blood of thy Son. 

" For ever;" eig tovq aiutvag, to the for evers, or, as some 
authorities have it, vvv Kai an Kai siq tovq amvaq ruiv 
aiutvtav, now, and for ever, and for ever and ever, — or, to 
ages of ages, — or, to the evers of evers. In such cases we 
often use for ever and ever, or, for evermore. The first 


ever, taking in the whole duration of time ; the second 
ever, all the eternity that is to come. The original word 
auav comes from aa, always, and wv, being or existence. 
This is Aristotle's definition of it. 

There is no word in any language that more forcibly 
points out the grand characteristic of eternity, — that 
which always exists. It is often used to point out a 
limited time, the end of which is not known. But 
this use of it is only an accommodated one ; and it is 
the grammatical and proper sense of it which must be 
resorted to in any controversy concerning its scriptural 

We sometimes use the phrase for evermore — for ever 
and more ; which signifies the whole of time, and the 
more, or interminable duration beyond it. 

" Amen." This word is Hebrew, jok aman, and sig- 
nifies faithful or true. The word itself implies a confi- 
dent resting of the soul in God ; with the fullest assur- 
ance that all these petitions shall be fulfilled to every 
one who prays according to the directions given here by 
our blessed Lord; to whom be ascribed the kingdom, 
the power, and the glory, for ever and ever ! Amen ! 

An old English divine has given the following illus- 
tration of the Lord's Prayer, which is well worth the 
reader's attention : — 

"Our Father;" Isai. Ixiii. 16. 
By right of creation, Mai. ii. 10. 

By bountiful provision, Ps. cxlv. 16. 

By gracious adoption, Eph. i. 5. 

" Who art in heaven ;" 1 Kings viii. 43. 
The throne of thy glory, Isai. lxyi. 1 

The portion of thy children, 1 Pet. i. 4. 

The temple of thy angels, Isai. vi. 1 

36 the lord's prayer; 

" Hallowed be thy name ;" Ps. cxv. 1. 
By the thoughts of our hearts, Ps. lxxxvi. 11. 

By the words of our lips, Ps. li. 15. 

By the works of our hands, 1 Cor. x. 31. 

" Thy kingdom come ;" Ps. ex. 2. 

Of providence, to defend us, Ps. xvii. 8. 

Of grace, to refine us, 1 Thess. v. 23. 

Of glory, to crown us, Coloss. iii. 4. 
" Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven ;" Acts 

xxi. 14. 

Towards us, without resistance, 1 Sam. iii. 18. 

By us, without compulsion, Ps. cxix. 36. 

Universally, without exception, Luke i. 6. 

Eternally, without declension, Ps. cxix. 93. 

" Give us this day our daily bread ;" Isai. xxxiii. 16 ; 

Ps. civ. 14. 

Of necessity, for our bodies, Prov. xxx. 8. 

Of eternal life, for our souls, John vi. 34. 

" And forgive us our trespasses ;' Ps. xxv. 11. 
Against the commands of thy law, 1 John iii. 4. 

Against the grace of thy gospel, 1 Tim. iii. 13. 

" As we forgive them that trespass against us ;" Matt. 

vi. 15. 
By defaming our character, Matt. v. 11. 

By embezzling our property, Philemon 18. 

By abusing our persons, Acts vii. 60. 

" And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from 

evil;" Matt. xxvi. 41. 
Of overwhelming affliction, Ps. exxx. 1. 

Of worldly enticements, 1 John ii. 15. 

Of Satan's devices, 1 Tim. iii. 7- 

Of error's seduction, 1 Tim. vi. 10. 

Of sinful affections, Rom. i. 26. 

A DISCOURSE ON MATT. VI. 5 — 13. 37 

" For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the 
glory, for ever ;" Jude 25. 
Thy kingdom governs all, Ps. ciii. 19. 

Thy power subdues all, Phil. iii. 20. 

Thy glory is above all, Ps. cxlviii. 13. 

"Amen;" Ephes. i. 11. 
As it is in thy purposes, Isai. xiv. 27. 

So it is in thy promises, 2 Cor. i. 20. 

So be it in our prayers, Rev. xxii. 20. 

So it shall be to thy praise, Rev. xix. 4. 

Bernard's Thesaurus. 




" O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, 
who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this day ; 
defend us in the same with thy mighty power ; and grant that 
this day we fall into sin, neither run into any kind of danger ; 
but that all our doings may be ordered by thy governance, to 
do always that is righteous in thy sight j through Jesus Christ 
our Lord. Amen." 


Perhaps it may be necessary to state that the ensuing 
Discourse, most certainly of a singular kind, owes its 
origin to the following circumstance : 

On Dec. 17? 1817, I was providentially called to take 
a journey from Liverpool to Hull, in company with an 
intelligent and pious friend. Being alone, we had on 
the way some useful conversation, relative to the cir- 
cumstances of such religious people as were obliged to 
pursue their business by frequent journeys both by sea 
and land, in which no privacy could be enjoyed ; and 
where, consequently, that daily walk, which a Christian 
should observe towards his Maker, was often so unavoid- 
ably interrupted, that it was next to impossible to have 
a recollected mind, or a heart regularly turned to God 
by prayer and supplication. 


In our discussion of this subject, we both agreed, that 
to have a solemn form of well-chosen words, by which 
the mind could fully express itself, in reference to its 
circumstances, without the labour of looking for suitable 
expressions, must be of great utility ; and to both of us, 
the Third Collect for Grace, in the liturgy of our ex- 
cellent church, appeared to contain both the ideas and 
words, which above all others were best suited to such 
occasions, and in which every Christian heart could 

On that occasion I termed this collect, "The Traveller's 
Prayer ;" and from that day formed the resolution, when- 
ever I should be able to command a sufficiency of time, 
to write a short discourse upon it, not only to recommend 
this very suitable and comprehensive form for this very 
purpose, but also to explain the import and force of every 
expression, that they who should use it in such pilgrim- 
ages might have the full benefit of it, by praying, not 
only with the spirit, but with the understanding also. 

The purpose then made, and of which I have never 
lost sight, one day's rest, after the fatigues of a long sea- 
voyage and land-journey, has given me an opportunity 
to fulfil ; and judging that the prayer, thus considered, 
may be as profitable to others as it has been to myself, I 
venture to make it public ; and I have no doubt, that 
every serious reader will heartil)'' join with me in praying 
that the many thousands of those who are exposed to the 
inconveniences and perils of travelling by land and by 
water, and the suspension more or less of religious duties 
through such journeyings, may be enabled to avail them- 
selves effectually of the prayer itself, and of this little 
help towards a better understanding and more extensive 
use of it ; and that there may be in this case, as in all 
others, a continuity in that thread of devotion which 
should run through the whole web of life ; so that in all 


the days thai ma y constitute the years of their pilgrim- 
age, they fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of 

May his presence and blessing be the reader's portion ! 
and after the journey of life is ended, may he have an 
abundant entrance into the holiest by the blood of Jesus ; 
where sin can never come, and where danger can have 
no place !* 

1. "With the business of life there are many untoward 
and hurrying circumstances connected, which in their 
natural operation are unfriendly to personal piety, and 
therefore require much watchfulness and prayer, that 
while we are, as duty binds us to be, diligent in business, 
we may also be fervent in spirit ; that while we are serv- 
ing ourselves, we may not forget to serve the Lord. 
Where the favour and blessing of God are, there are ne- 
cessarily peace and safety ; and where his blessing is not, 
there is no health — no prosperity. 

2. In order to obtain this blessing, and secure this 
favour, there must be, not only a very humble reliance 
on his mercy and protection; but also fervent suppli- 
cation for the grace necessary to enable us to pass 
through things temporal, so as not to lose those that are 

* The date of this " Advertisement," on the sermon being first 
published in a separate form, in 1829, was, " Stoke-Newington, 
August, 1828 ;" and the Advertisement concluded with, " I have 
the happiness to be, gentle reader, a friend to mankind, and your 
considerate fellow-traveller, Adam Clarke." The sermon was 
entitled, " The Traveller's Prayer ; a Discourse on the Third 
Collect for Grace, in the Morning Service of the Liturgy of the 
Church of England." — Editor. 


3. Even in the use of lawful things we may lose our 
souls; for lawful things may be used unlawfully, and 
thus that which was intended to be a blessing, may be- 
come a snare, and eventually a curse. He who is not 
aware of this dangerous possibility, will not watch 
against it, and therefore his fall is unavoidable. How 
necessary then is the wise man's advice, " Acknowledge 
him in all thy ways, and he will direct thy steps." Let 
us take care first, that the way be right ; that the business 
or employment by which we endeavour to get our bread, 
be just and honest ; that it be a lawful business — one 
useful to society — one that, in the course of his provi- 
dence, God may smile on ; and let us see that in the way 
or manner of our conducting it, there be neither avarice 
nor falsity. 

4. When, on examination, we find all is right, not 
only as to the business, trade, or calling, by which we 
hope to gain the necessaries of life for ourselves and 
those who are dependant on us, but also that we are 
endeavouring with a pure conscience to conduct the 
lawful business honestly, without guile or deceit, we are 
authorized to expect God's blessing, and consequently 
success in our honest labour. But for all this God must 
be inquired after, to do it for us ; that is, to bless and 
prosper our lawful endeavours, so that we may be able 
to provide things honest in the sight of all men. For 
remember, that it is the Lord that giveth thee power to 
get wealth. 

5. All these considerations strongly show the absolute 
necessity of prayer to Him who is the creator and gover- 
nor of all things, and the disposer of all events. " But 
how can we pray, or be spiritually collected, while travel- 
ling day and night in stage-coaches, where the company 
is as miscellaneous as the roads they take in journeying 
through life." Nor have we less disadvantages in steam- 

42 the traveller's prayer; 

packets, merchants' ships, and such like conveyances, 
when we go to transact our business on the coasts of 
the sea, or from continent to continent, on the deep 
waters. I grant that all these things are unfriendly to 
the spirit of piety ; and this is the concession with which 
I set out. But still they are not insuperable hinderances ; 
and pray we must, or not prosper. Many pious persons, 
in these circumstances, have deplored the unsuitableness 
of titne, place, and company, to prayer ; a total want of 
privacy, with various causes of distraction breaking in 
every minute, so that the mind is incapable of working 
up its thoughts into anything like orderly and regular 
supplication, and in such a state disturbed thoughts can 
only form themselves into unconnected words and sen- 
tences, with which, how sincerely soever intended, the 
mind is generally dissatisfied ; and thus the perplexity is 

6. If ever a form of sound words were necessary, it 
must be in such a case as this ; a form short, simple, 
and terse, where the mind is saved the labour of com- 
posing the words which the heart at once feels to be the 
just types of its desires, and by which it can come at 
once unto the Lord, and present before him its necessi- 
ties and most fervent desires, being saved the trouble of 
searching for suitable words to express its wants and 
wishes. Such is the form which appears as a motto to 
this discourse, but which is, in fact, the text on which 
the whole is intended to be built. As I wish to benefit 
the antiformalist as well as him who pleads for its use 
and importance, I only wish the former to go with me 
but a little way in the present case, and I have no doubt, 
if his heart be right with God, he will soon find that in 
his journeyings through the maze of this world, in the 
secular business of life, he will be glad to find such a 
help to his devotion, so near at hand. 


This short prayer divides itself into the following parts 
or portions. 

I. A solemn address to the Supreme Being :— 

" Lord, our heavenly Father, Almighty and ever- 
lasting God." 

II. An acknowledgment of his care and providence in 
preserving our life : — 

" Who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this 

III. A strong petition to be preserved, during the day, 
from sin and hurtful accidents : — ■ 

" Defend us in the same with thy mighty power ; and 
grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into 
any kind of danger." 

IV Supplication for guidance through the secular 
business of the day, that it may be wisely and righteously 
transacted : — 

" But that all our doings may be ordered by thy go- 
vernance, to do always that is righteous in thy sight." 

V All these petitions, and the expectation of their 
fulfilment, are grounded on him who, in all the services 
of the church, is represented as the great sacrificial offer- 
ing, and through whom alone God's gifts and mercy can 
be communicated to mankind : — 

" Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen." 

I. A solemn address to the Supreme Being. 

" Lord, our heavenly Father," &c. 

In considering the above divisions, it will be necessary 
to examine the import of each word, that the mind may 
duly apprehend the idea, or precise meaning, intended to 
be conveyed by it. 

I. The Supreme Being is here addressed by a title that 
is intended to point out his dominion and sovereignty 
— Lord. Power belongs to him who is the object of 

VOL. II. c 

44 THE traveller's prayer ; 

our workup, and power exercised in tne way of dominion 
or government. He is the Creator, and consequently the 
Preserver of all things ; as he has sovereign rule, so he 
has sovereign right. He upholds all things by the word 
of his power ; and has an absolute right to dispose of 
them, and govern them as he pleases. All beings are 
under him, and depend upon him ; and it is he alone that 
gives life and breath to all things. He has way every- 
where, and all things serve the purposes of his wilL 
As we would feel the deepest reverence in approaching 
the presence of the king, so at least should we feel in 
approaching the Majesty of the heavens and the earth. 
I need not add, that reverence and godly fear should 
penetrate the heart — that we should feel our obligations 
to and dependance upon him ; and that though we have 
authority to pray, for this he has given us, we have no 
authority to command — we are the creatures coming into 
the presence of the Creator, and subjects approaching 
the throne of the king. The exclamation O, is the ex- 
pression of the petitionary spirit ; and by a proper con- 
sideration of the Being we thus address, Lord ! the 
soul is brought into the spirit and attitude of a supplicant. 
2. If we have not some endearing conception of this 
august Being, superadded to that of his Majesty, his 
terrors may well make us afraid ; confidence cannot be 
excited by the bare contemplation of majesty and su- 
preme authority ; to come with boldness to the throne of 
grace, we must be convinced that he who sits on. it has 
a friendly disposition towards us, and in evidence of it 
has commanded us to ask, that we may receive ; therefore 
with great judgment have the excellent compilers of our 
Liturgy, or public service, added here, " Our heavenly 
Father." A proper choice of terms is of wonderful use 
when the speaker wishes to address himself to the con- 
science and heart ; and the judicious collection of such 


terms gives them additional expression and force : and so 
it is here. The Divine Majesty is first presented to our 
view, and before him we are constrained to bow. While 
awed by his presence, and trembling before him, we hear 
him proclaimed by that most endearing of all names and 
relations, Father! What! is this Sovereign, this most 
tremendously glorious and transcendently magnificent 
Being, my Father ? Does he call me his son, his child ? 
Is that dazzling throne the throne of grace ? That seat 
of majesty the seat also of mercy ? — of good- will, of 
tender care, of gracious solicitude and parental affection ? 
Yes ; thou art our Father ; for such pity as a father 
showeth unto his children, such pity hath the Lord for 
them that love him. He is not merely a Father, or the 
' f Father of the spirits of all flesh ;" but he is our Father 
— one whom we may confidently call our own, and claim 
as our own; for himself acknowledges us for his chil- 

3. But he is our heavenly Father. From an earthly 
father we have derived, in a secondary way, our being ; 
and by such we have been fed, clothed, defended, fos- 
tered, and protected. The hand that led us was a hand 
of tenderness ; the voice that cheered us was the voice of 
affection and love. He girded us when we knew him 
not ; we were objects of his solicitude when we could 
not call him by that endearing name. We smiled through 
the effects of his parental kindness, when we could not 
comprehend that it was from him, under this God and 
Father, that we derived the happiness which was ex- 
pressed by that smile. Well, all that this our tenderly 
affectioned and beloved earthly father did for us, was a 
proof of the love of our heavenly Father towards us ; for 
it was from him that our earthly father derived his 
parental tenderness, and through his bounty alone, was 
he enabled to feed, clothe, and protect us. Then, with 

c 2 



what confidence may we draw nigh to him ! Our earthly 
fathers were both limited in their knowledge, and limited 
in their means ; they often wished to succour us when 
it was out of their power — to feed us when they had not 
the means — their love extended to all our wants and 
necessities, but their hands could reach but to a few. 
But here we are introduced to our " heavenly Father," 
whose love is ever ardent, ever operative, whose all- 
seeing eye ever affects his heart, and his loving heart 
ever dictates to his almighty hand. And to show this 
efficiency, the same wisdom, piety, and good sense of our 
reformers, already mentioned, have most properly added 
here what qualifies and confirms the whole, — 

4. " Almighty and everlasting God." 

We have already se,en what is implied in the character 
of the Supreme Being, as " the Lord, and our heavenly 
Father." We now come to consider more particularly 
his power, as it immediately concerns ourselves. We 
see, in the course of the world, that there are multitudes 
of moral and natural evils which nothing but almighty 
power can restrain, turn aside, or destroy; and that 
there are many good things, of both kinds, absolutely 
necessary to the preservation, comfort, and salvation of 
man, which no less a power than Omnipotence can pro- 
duce and establish. Now it is ever necessary, in order 
to our confidence and faith, to have the conviction that 
he who is our heavenly Father, is the "almighty and 
everlasting God." Almigktiness is that from which all 
might or strength must be derived, and in which all 
might or strength is included. Every rational and in- 
telligent agent has a degree of power. All animate 
beings have also a measure of might, which they have 
liberty to use or exert at any time, and in what measure 
they feel necessary. Every particle also of inanimate 
matter has a degree of force, though unconscious of it, 


which it is ever exerting under a particular direction, 
which learned men, for want of knowing a better name, 
have agreed to call attraction or gravity. By this prin- 
ciple all portions of matter adhere; and this is called 
the attraction of cohesion ; and by this they tend to each 
other, so as to form a grand whole, about the centre of 
which, at equal distances, all particles of matter are 
collected ; and this is simply termed gravitation or attrac- 
tion. The horse has strength to run ; the ox, to draw ; 
the lightning, to tear the oak ; the sun, to influence all 
the other bodies in our system ; and the earth has vege- 
tative energy to produce the grass which grows for the 
cattle, and the corn which grows for the service of man ; 
and man has strength, wisdom, and skill to employ all 
these in his service, and direct their powers and influ- 
ences to his use. Now all these mighty powers and 
energies God has not only made, but directs and manages, 
both conjunctly and separately ; all are ever in his grasp, 
subsist and exist by him ; he rides on the whirlwind, 
and directs the storm ; he quells the raging of the seas, 
he sits upon the water-floods, and remaineth a king for 
ever. Yea, he "rides upon the heavens as upon , a 
horse " — manages all their powers and influences, how- 
soever varied, combined, or acted upon by each other, in 
their, almost untraceable motions, revolutions in their 
respective orbits, and the velocities by which they travel 
from imperceptibly slow to incomprehensibly swift. 

Now, fellow-traveller, this is God — thy "heavenly 
Father !" And this is a sketch of the almightiness 
which shall ever, as far as is necessary, and in every re- 
quisite proportion, be exerted for thee, while thou put- 
test thy trust in him, and acknowledgest him in all thy 

5. There is only one point more necessary to be con- 
sidered on this head — that this Almighty God is everlast- 

48 the traveller's prayer; 

ing. OuV earthly fathers are dead ; they have endured 
but a time, and could not continue by reason of death : but 
thy heavenly Father is everlasting. He is eternal. He 
is without beginning of days, as without end of time. 
As his Being knew no commencement, so it shall know 
no end. As his kingdom is infinite, so his power is 
eternal. And if anything farther be necessary to im- 
press just sentiments of his parental relationship to thee, 
behold it in the word God, which signifies the good 
Being. He who is good of himself, in himself, and the 
Cause of all the good that is in the heavens, and in the 
earth, in angels and in men. The Fountain of all good, 
whether natural or spiritual — of all the good that ever 
was, and ever will be, to all eternity. 

n. An acknowledgment of his care and providence in 
preserving our life : — 

" Who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this 

1. Life itself is a wonder, and, in its principles, inex- 
plicable : its preservation is not less so. Apparently it 
depends on the circulation of the blood through the heart, 
the lungs, and the whole system, by means of the arteries 
and veins ; and this seems to depend on the inspiration 
and expiration of the air, by means of the lungs. While 
the pulsations of the heart continue, the blood circulates, 
and life is preserved. But this seems to depend on re- 
spiration, or the free inhaling of the atmospheric air, and 
expiration of the same. While, therefore, we freely 
breathe ; while the lungs receive and expel the air, by 
respiration or breathing ; and the heart continues to beat ; 

thus circulating the blood through the whole system, 

life is preserved. But who can explain the phenomena 
of respiration ? And by what power do the lungs sepa- 
rate the oxygen of the air, for the nutrition, perfection, 
and circulation of the blood ? And by what power is it 


that the heart continues to expand, in order to receive 
the blood ; and contract, in order to repel it, so that the 
circulation may be continued ; which must continue, in 
order that life may be preserved ? Why does the heart 
not get weary, and rest ? Why is it that with incessant 
labour, for even threescore and ten years, it is not ex- 
hausted of its physical power, and so stand still ? These 
are questions which God alone can answer satisfactorily, 
because life depends on him, whatsoever means he may 
choose to employ for its continuance and preservation. 
Hence with great propriety do travellers (and indeed so 
should all others) thank him, for having safely brought 
them to the beginning of any day. 

2. Night also is a season of danger, — it is the season 
from which our cares and attention to self-preservation are 
excluded. Self-preservation, which is called the first law 
of nature, occupies much of our time during the course 
of the day ; our eyes and ears watch for us, and our 
hands and feet ward against danger. Caution and fore- 
sight are ever on the alert, in order to descry and avert 
any evil that might tend to injure or destroy life. But in 
the night-season, eyes, ears, hands, feet, caution, and 
foresight are all inactive, and fall under the common 
state of inaction which possesses all the members of the 
body. God alone can preserve us from the violence of 
the fire, the edge of the sword, the designs of wicked 
men, the influence of malevolent spirits, and the various 
natural obstructions and causes of the cessation of the 
action of vital functions, which might put an end to life. 
He who carefully considers these things, will wonder 
that his life is safe at any time ; and much more, that it 
is preserved during the course even of a single night. 
While we slumber, God neither slumbers nor sleeps. He 
is the watchman not only of Israel, but of the whole 
human race, because he is the Father of the spirits of 


all flesh, — of all mankind. He hates nothing that he 
has made ; but man, on account of that dignity with 
which he has endowed him, he pre-eminently loves. 
To thank God for our preservation in the course of the 
night, and for bringing us in safety to the beginning of 
a new day, is at once a duty as rational and proper as it 
is Christian. Our preservation at any time, our preser- 
vation at all times, is the effect of God's mercy : and for 
this, on the return of recollection, after the slumbers of 
the night, we should feel especial gratitude ; for had we 
died in any previous night of our life, could we have 
died safely ? Fellow-traveller, ask this question at thy 
heart and conscience, and then see whether thou canst 
refrain from thanking the almighty and everlasting God 
for bringing thee to the beginning of the day ? Thou 
art still alive ; and though in a stage coach, or on the 
great deep, thou art still in the land of the living — in a 
state of probation — in a place where thou canst pray, 
and acquaint thyself with God, and be at peace, that 
thereby good may come unto thee. 

III. A strong petition to God, to be preserved, during 
the day, from sin and hurtful accidents : — 

" Defend us during the same with thy mighty power ; 
and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run 
into any kind of danger." 

1. Dangerous as the night-season may appear, for the 
above reasons, the day is in fact no less so. Though in 
the night we can take no care of ourselves, yet we are 
less exposed to the bustle of life, which gives birth to so 
many kinds of dangers. The labours of the day, in se- 
veral of the avocations of life, are performed in perilous 
situations. Mining, in which hundreds of thousands are 
employed, is a tissue of dangers : in every moment, life 
is exposed to imminent and various deaths, by what is 
called the fire-damp, and the falling of parts of the pit 


on the miners. Those who travel by land, or by water, 
are not less exposed. By common stage-coaches, acci- 
dents are not only frequent, but often mortal : weekly 
accounts from public registers are full of details of such 
calamitous events. Those who travel by water are yet 
more exposed than those who travel by land. On sea, 
there is never more than a few inches of plank, between 
any man and death. In a sudden squall, a ship may 
easily founder : in a gale, blowing on a lee-shore, she 
may soon be dashed to pieces, and every hand lost. A 
ship ma,f spring a leak, which no industry or skill may 
be able to stop ; and after incredible labour of the crew, 
fill and go to the bottom, and every person be consigned 
to a watery grave. In cases where the weather has been 
dark and tempestuous for several days, so that no obser- 
vation could be taken, and the reckoning, because of the 
conflicting and thwarting tides, has been necessarily im- 
perfect — in a hazy state of the atmosphere, the ship 
may make land in a breeze or gale, either by night or 
day, and be suddenly dashed in pieces. Some of these 
perilous states I have witnessed. Besides these, there is 
a multitude of other dangers, which unavoidably accom- 
pany a sea-faring life, and which, in numerous cases, 
are destructive of human life. What need of an Almighty 
Preserver for those who go down to the sea in ships, 
and occupy their business in great waters ! Should they 
not pray to God that he may defend them with his 
mighty power ? for no less a defence can avail, when he 
raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves of 
the sea, so that they mount up to the heaven, and go 
down again to the depths, and their soul is melted with 
trouble ; and the poor seamen reel to and fro, and stag- 
ger like drunken men, and are at their wits' end. What 
need, I say, have such to cry unto the Lord in their 
trouble, that he may bring them out of their distresses, 


52 the traveller's prayer ; 

by making the storm a calm, so that they may be brought 
safely unto their desired haven ? Through the whole of 
life's maze, there are dangers : the changes and chances 
of this mortal state are numerous ; and neither by day 
nor by night, by land nor by water, can we be a moment 
safe, but under the direction and defence of the mighty 
power of God. 

2. But that against which we should direct our most 
fervent prayer, is sin. This is more perilous and more 
destructive than all the possible calamities which may 
occur on the land, and the more awful deaths wliich may 
meet us on the ocean. But what is sin ? Let us un- 
derstand this well, that we may see the propriety of 
praying that the mighty power of God may so defend us 
that we fall not into it. 

Sin is the transgression of God's law — it is the doing 
anything which God has forbidden ; or leaving undone 
what he has commanded us to do. Either the doing in 
the one case, or the not doing in the other, is here called 
falling into sin. In this petition, reference is made to a 
hidden gin, trap, or snare ; or to a pit in the ground, 
over which rushes or reeds are artfully laid, so that the 
deception may not be easily discovered ; and the heed- 
less traveller falls into it before he is aware, and is so 
entangled that he cannot get out. Sudden temptations 
to anger, by which quarrels are provoked, and life en- 
dangered or destroyed, may be construed among those 
mortal falls. There may be temptations also to drunk- 
enness, and various kinds of debauchery, from which no 
traveller is exempt ; and by which any may fall, if not 
defended by the mighty power of the Lord. I need not 
instance temptations from "her whose house inclineth 
unto death, and her paths unto the dead : for she hath 
cast down many wounded ; yea, many strong men have 
been slain by her : for her house is the way to hell, 


going dow*" to the chambers of death." "With such, the 
path of the traveller is often most grievously infested — 
and the sin is more easily besetting, when a man is at a 
distance from his own house, and where he is not met 
by the eye either of acquaintance or friend. Many fall 
into sins when they are abroad, to which they have nei- 
ther temptation nor incentive when they are at home. 
Let none therefore despise counsels of this kind : how- 
soever well armed, there are deceptions and dangers in 
the way; and if not to the very grosser vices, yet to 
others, by which the soul may equally suffer; and the 
letter as well as the spirit of the prayer is, Grant that 
this day we fall into no sin : and the night also, may 
be safely included in the petition. 

3. The prayer is extended not only to defence against 
sin, but against all kinds of hurtful accidents : " Neither 
run into any kind of danger." 

The dangers into which we may run, are widely dif- 
ferent from those already mentioned. I have spoken of 
two kinds already ; those which we may meet with in 
travelling by land, and those which may occur in travel- 
ling by water ; but the running into any kind of danger, 
may refer to anything that may occur in our walks in the 
streets or lanes of any city or large town. I have known 
persons, in endeavouring to run out of the way of carts 
and coaches, actually run into the way of danger. I have 
known one who, walking along the paranet, was crushed 
to pieces by a cart-wheel against the wall. I have seen 
a woman, striving to see the raree show of an illumina- 
tion, fall from a garret, and dashed to pieces on the pave- 
ment. I have seen a man who had got too much liquor 
riding furiously, his horse fell, and he was killed on the 
spot. I have seen another, who, getting on forbidden 
ground, was shot dead on the spot. I have known an- 
other, who fell over a bank, and was dead before he 

54 the traveller's prayer ; 

could be taken up. In short, I have known many who 
ran into various kinds of dangers, and have paid for 
their imprudence, temerity, or what was called the acci- 
dent, by the loss of their life. From what I have seen, as 
well as from what I have heard, I see the great necessity 
of using such a prayer as this in every part of the walk 
of life — " Grant that this day we run into no kind of 
danger :" and in crossing the streets of London, or other 
large cities and towns, let us remember the proverb, that 
" there are always 200 yards more of rOom behind a 
coach, than before it." Of this many are sadly unmindful, 
and run across public streets, before horses and carriages 
driving at full trot ; and not a few have either lost life 
or limb by this folly. 

IV Supplication for guidance through the secular bu- 
siness of the day, that it may be wisely and righteously 
transacted : — 

" But that all our doings may be ordered by thy go- 
vernance, to do always that is righteous in thy sight." 

1. The governance of God is a subject of mighty 
importance, and concerns every human individual. 

What God has created, he upholds ; what he up- 
holds, he governs. Without him nothing is wise, no- 
thing is holy, nothing strong. Many suppose that God 
governs the world by general laws ; or rather, that he 
has imposed what they call general laws, and left 
them to govern the world, with which he does not 
intermeddle. That this notion is absurd will at once ap- 
pear, when we consider, 1st, That all generals are com- 
posed of particulars ; and if he govern the generals, he 
must also govern the parts of which they are composed. 
2dly, That if there be laws which he has imposed on the 
universe, whether they be general or particular, they 
must have their action and efficiency from himself ; and 
whatever be the mode according to which he governs, 


he himself must be the energy by which the govern- 
ment is administered ; and therefore it is not general nor 
particular laws which govern the world, but the great, 
wise, and holy God, governing according to a particular 
mode of his own devising, and according to which he 
is disposed to work. Properly speaking, he governs not 
by either general or particular laws, but by his own in- 
finite wisdom, adapting his operations to all those cir- 
cumstances and occurrences which are ever before him, 
and ever under his direction and control — " from seem- 
ing evil still educing good — and better still in infinite 
progression." As all matter and spirit were created by 
him, and all that he has created he upholds, so all mat- 
ter and spirit are governed by him. Everything, there- 
fore, is under his continual superintendence or governance ; 
and as that governance is wise, holy, and good, so what- 
ever is governed by it is governed in the best manner, 
and conducted to the best end. 

2. This governance of GOD is the model of all per- 
fection in government ; and all that is conducted by this 
model must be what is useful and good to the whole, 
and beneficial to the individual. God, in his government 
of the world, has for his object the benefit and salvation 
of men. They whose doings are ordered, i. e., arranged 
and directed, by his government, must aim at his glory, 
and the welfare of their fellow-creatures ; and their 
whole conduct must tend to promote " glory to God in 
the highest, and on earth peace, and good will among 

3. As God's governance is righteous, so every work of 
man which is formed on that model must be righteous 
also. " Be ye holy," says the Lord, " for I am holy ;" 
i. e., in other words, " Let all your doings be ordered by 
his governance, that ye may always do that which is 
righteous," not in the estimation of man merely, but in 

56 the traveller's prayer; 

the sight of the Lord. Let not this be the case occa- 
sionally, #r on select occurrences, but always — in all 
times, places, and seasons. For the Spirit of the Chris- 
tian religion does not enjoin occasional acts of piety 
merely, but a whole life of justice, integrity, truth, and 
righteousness. Ir% short, we should haye the very 
thoughts of our hearts cleansed by the inspiration of 
God's Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love him, and 
worthily magnify his name. And we shall never act 
thus till we get .under the divine governance, and begin, 
continue, and end every work to his glory, and the be- 
nefit of mankind. Then, and then only, shall all our 
doings be ordered by his governance; and then only 
shall we do that which is righteous in his sight. 

V All these petitions, and the expectation of their 
fulfilment, are grounded on him who, in all the services 
of the church, is represented as the great sacrificial 
Offering; and through whom alone God's gifts and 
mercy can be communicated to mankind: hence we 
conclude by saying,— 

" Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen." 
1. God never dispenses either gifts or graces, but on 
some sufficient reason to justify his conduct ; though he 
owes not any account of his conduct to man. But why 
is it that he should become our Father? Why is it 
that he should take care of us day and night ? Why is 
it that he should preserve us from, sin and danger? 
Why is it that he should guide us by his governance, 
and so influence us by his grace and Spirit, that we may 
do " that which is lawful and right in his sight ?" These 
things he does promise ; and why should he bind himself 
to do these things for us, who are debased by sin, and 
whose best desert is hell? who have rebelled against 
him, and have not hearkened to the voice of the Lord 
our God, to walk in the way that he hath set before us ? 


Why ? He does all these things for us through Jesus 
Christ our Lord. The word through signifies here, not 
by Christ as an agent, but on account of Christ ; for the 
sake of him — on account of his worth, worthiness, or 
merits : and why ? This Christ took our nature upon 
him, became man, died in our stead, and thus bore the 
punishment due to mankind, in his own body upon the 
tree. He was delivered for our offences, and rose again 
for our justification. God was pleased with this, and he 
is pleased with all those who believe in this Christ as 
having died to make an atonement for their sins, and 
thus reconcile them to God. There is no good in man 
but what God's mercy puts in him ; therefore it is not 
for man's sake, on man's account, or for his worth or 
merits, that God does these things for him ; but for the 
sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. But who is this person, 
for whose sake or merits God does all these things for 
man ? He is called Jesus Christ our Lord ! Jesus is a 
Hebrew word, and signifies him, that saves. This is the 
interpretation of it given by the angel of God, who fore- 
told his birth : " His name shall be called Jesus, for he 
shall save his people from their sins," Matt. i. 21. But 
the word signifies also a preserver ; that is, the person 
who, having saved, preserves those in the state of salva- 
tion who depend upon him ; so that the word Jesus 
signifies one who saves men from sin, and who preserves 
them in that state of salvation. 

2. The word Christ is Greek, and is the same as 
Messiah in Hebrew ; and both signify the Anointed One, 
or the Anointer. In ancient times, prophets, priests, and 
kings had oil poured upon their heads, in token that 
God had appointed them to their respective offices. 
Now oil was an emblem of the Holy Spirit, of his gifts 
and of his graces ; and when a man was anointed with 
oil, in the name of the Lord, for any of the above offices, 

58 the traveller's prayer; 

it was supposed that the Holy Spirit rested upon him in 
the gifts and graces necessary to qualify him to fulfil the 
office to which he was appointed by the Lord, whether 
it was that of priest, prophet, or king. For the good 
sense of mankind, in ancient times, as well as the direct 
revelation of God, taught them that no man could fulfil 
the office of a prophet, either by preaching or predicting 
future events, unless endowed by this spirit of wisdom 
and understanding ; — that no man could worthily exe- 
cute the priest's office, either by offering sacrifice to God 
for the people, or making intercession for them, unless 
influenced by that Holy Spirit which sanctified every 
sacrifice and gift, and communicated the power of inter- 
cession and prayer. Nor did they suppose that any king 
could decree justice and judgment, or properly administer 
the laws, unless the discernment and unction of that 
Holy Spirit of the Lord rested on him. Christ, in whom 
the fulness of this Spirit dwelt, was appointed to be the 
Prophet, Priest, and King of the human race. As a 
Prophet, he declares to and teaches man the will and 
counsel of God. As a Priest, he offers his own body on 
the cross as an atonement for the sin of the whole world. 
As a King, he reigns over the whole earth by his power, 
and in the hearts of all true Christians by his Spirit. 

3. He is called also our Lord. This title I have 
already explained ; it signifies governor, supreme poten- 
tate : — and he governs the church, and rules the hearts, 
affections, and desires of all his children. Man has no 
worthiness for which he can claim anything from the 
God of justice ; therefore, whatever he receives, it must 
be for Christ's sake. And this truth is so great and im- 
portant, that all or nearly all the prayers in our liturgy, 
are thus concluded : every grace and gift of God's Spirit 
is asked " for Christ's sake." For his sake repentance, 
faith, pardon of sin, holiness, and heaven are requested 


of God : " for Jesus Christ's sake," or " through Jesus 
Christ our Lord." "We have an entrance to the holiest 
by his blood. And because of the infinite merit or 
worth of his sacrificial offering for the sins of men, God 
can be just, and yet the Justifier of him who believeth 
on Jesus. He who thus believes had been previously a 
rebel against God, but is now turned to him with a truly 
penitent and believing heart. 

To ratify and confirm these several petitions, we add 
the word Amen, the meaning of which I come now to 

Amen is a mere Hebrew word, and signifies faithful 
or true ; and when used at the end of prayer, implies a 
confident resting of the soul on God, with the fullest 
assurance that the petitions which have been offered 
according to his will shall be all most graciously and 
punctually fulfilled. 

As, therefore, the word has reference to the truth and 
faithfulness of God, so it has also to the sincerity of the 
person who ends, and as it were seals, his petitions with 
it. If the heart be not concerned in the petitions, the 
Amen is of no use. God will not ratify, by a fulfilment, 
prayers which our hearts cannot be said to have offered 
at the throne of grace. But when right words are used, 
and the lips have not uttered them till the heart has 
weighed the import of each expression, then the whole 
may be justly presumed to have entered into the ears of 
the Lord our heavenly Father ; and that he will turn 
aside the evils which threaten us, and grant us those 
good things which we have sincerely asked in the name 
and for the sake of 




2 Samuel xiv. 14. 

" For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the 
ground, which cannot be gathered up again ; neither doth God 
respect any person : yet doth he devise means, that his banished 
be not expelled from him." 

The circumstances in which these words were uttered, 
as well as the remote hut direct cause whence these cir- 
cumstances flowed, must he considered, in order to see 
and to feel the weight and importance of the maxims 
laid down in the text. 

In the eleventh chapter of this hook, the inspired 
writer, 1. Gives us a very circumstantial account of 
David's transgression with Bathsheba, the wife of one of 
his captains, and the criminal means he used to hide his 
transgression, which, as intended, brought about the 
death of this brave man. 2. The notice taken of those 
criminal acts by the God of justice and purity, in chap, 
xii., and the divine threatening relative to the judgments 
which God would send, or permit to fall on himself and 
family, as proofs of the depth of his guilt, and of the 
high and just displeasure of that sovereign Lord, whose 
authority he had despised, and whose laws he had 

The message of God was sent to David by the prophet 


Nathan, and was delivered in a few simple, but dread- 
fully appalling words. " Wherefore hast thou despised 
the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight ? 
Thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and 
hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him 
with the sword of the children of Ammon. Now, there- 
fore, the sword shall never depart from thine house v — I 
will raise up evil against thee, out of thine own house : 
for thou didst it secretly ; but I will do this thing before 
all Israel, and before the sun." See chap. xii. 7 — 12. 

The fearful and appalling effects of David's double 
crime, and the denounced judgments of the Almighty, 
we shall soon see fulfilled in the horrible rape of Amnon, 
on his half-sister; in the fratricide of Absalom, who 
treacherously murdered the ravisher of Tamar, who was 
his full sister ; the expulsion of the murderer from the 
favour of his father, and his banishment from the Israel- 
itish court; and, subsequently, the rebellion of this 
wicked brother and unnatural son against his own father; 
the total overthrow of the thoughtless multitude which 
he had drawn into the vortex of his rebellion ; and his 
own tragical death, when fleeing from the battle in which 
he was defeated. 

On» these subjects, too awful and revolting in their 
nature and circumstances, it would be improper to dwell : 
to mention them in connexion with the fact on which 
the text is founded is quite sufficient ; and from them we 
shall draw this inference only, that while they show the 
horrible depravity of the human heart, and the long- 
suffering, just judgment, and unmerited mercy of Je- 
hovah, their detail in the sacred writings is an illustrious 
proof of the truth of those divine records ; for who that 
intended to deceive, by fabricating a religion which he 
designed to father on the purity of God, would have in- 
serted such an account of one of its most zealous advo- 

62 DEATH unavoidable; 

cates, andr previously its brightest ornament ? God alone, 
whose character is impartiality, has done it, to show that 
his religion, the truth of which is demonstrated by its 
own intrinsic and influential purity and excellence, will 
ever stand independently of the conduct of its profes- 

It was during the time of Absalom's banishment from 
the Israelitish court, that the transactions mentioned in 
this chapter took place. Absalom, plotting deep designs 
of treason and rebellion against his too fond parent, saw 
that unless he was reinstated in his favour, and brought 
back to court, he could not possibly execute them ; 
applied to Joab, the generalissimo of his father's forces, 
to use his influence with the king, to effect his restora- 
tion : after a great deal of reluctance, evidenced on the 
part of the general, he at last undertook the negociation. 
And that he might appear as little in it as possible, em- 
ployed a sensible widow of Tekoa (a little city in the 
tribe of Jtidah, about twelve miles from Jerusalem) to 
use the prominent features of her own case, and embel- 
lish them according to the circumstances of the case 
which she was instructed by him to represent to the 
king; in order that he might, without knowing her 
design, or in the least suspecting her cunning, pronounce 
a solemn decision, which would, by fair construction, 
apply to the case of Absalom ; and thus oblige David to 
recall his son from banishment. 

Being admitted to the king's presence, she uttered a 
cry of distress, "Help, O king !" and being encouraged 
to open her case, made, in substance, the following 
statement : " I am a desolate widow, and my husband 
at his death left two sons ; these in an unfortunate dis- 
agreement quarrelled, and one was slain. My late hus- 
band's family rose up and demanded the slayer to be 
delivered up to them, that he might pay with his life 


the life of his brother whom he had slain ; as the law 
had provided that the nearest akin to him who was 
slain should avenge his death, by slaying the murderer 
This being my only son, and the sole heir and represen- 
tative of the family, if he be destroyed, the inheritance 
is lost, and to my deceased husband there shall not be 
either name or posterity left in Israel." 

The king, affected with the case, told her that he 
would give orders to the proper officers to consider her 
appeal. As, in such a case, delay would be most likely 
to bring about discovery, and thus defeat the whole de- 
sign, the widow, affecting to be much alarmed for the 
safety of her remaining son, and seeing that David hesi- 
tated to decide, and promise to save the life of her son, 
supposing that he did so, lest the not bringing the 
offender to the assigned punishment might appear to re- 
flect on the administration of justice in the land ; — to 
remove all such scruples from his mind, she very cun- 
ningly, and with great address, cried out, " Let the ini- 
quity of rescuing him from the death that I allow he 
has deserved be visited on me, and my father s house, 
and the king and his throne be guiltless, if this should 
be found to be a case to which the royal clemency should 
not have been extended." To pacify her, the king told 
her, that if the next of kin still continued to urge his 
claim, founded on the law, to bring him before him ; 
and he would so settle the matter, that he would in 
future relinquish his claim. The widow seeing that this 
would not bring the business to such a bearing, that it 
would issue in the conclusion she wished, affecting the 
greatest alarm, lest the avenger of blood should instantly 
avail himself of the authority of the law to slay the 
murderer, prayed the king to issue his mandate to pre- 
vent this, and to give her his solemn promise that all 
proceedings relative to this affair might be stopped. 

64 death unavoidable; 

The king, increasingly affected with the case, and the 
widow's importunity, instantly pronounced her son's 
pardon, and confirmed it by a solemn oath: "As the 
Lord liveth, there shall not one hair of thy son fall to 
the earth !" 

The widow having now taken all the preliminary steps 
she had projected, and having arrived at that conclusion 
with the king that she wished for, thus discloses her 
purpose, and applies and enforces her request with what 
is called the argumentum ad hominem (a mode of reason- 
ing by which a man is pressed with consequences drawn 
from his own principles or concessions, to admit what 
his opponent contends for), which she expands in the 
following manner : " Is not the king himself blameable ? 
Does he act a consistent part ? He is willing to pardon 
the meanest of his subjects, the murderer of a brother, at 
the instance of a poor desolate widow ; and he is not 
willing to pardon his son Absalom, whose restoration to 
favour is the desire of the whole nation ! Is that cle- 
mency to be refused to the king's son, the hope of the 
nation and apparent heir to the throne, which is showed 
to a private individual, whose death or life can be of 
consequence only to one family?" "Why, therefore, 
dost not thou recall thy banished child ?" Whatsoever 
there is done should be done quickly : all must die ; 
God has not exempted any one from this common lot ; 
though Amnon be dead, the death of Absalom cannot 
bring him to life, nor repair this loss. Besides, Amnon 
for his crime justly deserved to die, and thou in his case 
didst not administer justice. Horrible as this fratricide 
is, is it not a pardonable case ? Was not the crime of 
Amnon the most flagitious, and the offence to Absalom 
(the ruin of his beloved sister) indescribably great? 
Seeing, then, that the thing is so, and that Amnon can 
no more be recalled to life, than water spilt upon the 


ground can be gathered up again ; and that God, whose 
vicegerent thou art, and whose example of clemency as 
well as justice thou art called to imitate, devises means 
that those who are banished from him by transgression 
and sin may not be finally expelled from his mercy and 
his kingdom : — remember, then, the Lord thy God ; re- 
store thy son to favour ; pardon his crime, as thou hast 
promised to restore my son ; and the Lord thy God will 
be with thee — he will show thee his mercy, and grant 
thee his salvation. 

That such argumentation was conclusive and success- 
ful need not be stated. Absalom was recalled ; but while 
mercy triumphed, justice had its claims, and was re- 
spected ; though the legal guilt of his crime was par- 
doned, he was permitted to return to Jerusalem, and yet 
his father very properly refused to admit him either to 
his confidence or presence, till he should have greater 
proof of his humiliation ; and therefore he was ordered 
" to go to his own house : — for the king said, Let him 
return to his own house ; and. let him not see my face,*' 
ver. 24. 

Though the argument in the text is as elegant as it 
was well-timed, artfully conducted, and successful ; yet 
we must lose sight of it as referring to the case of Absa- 
lom, and consider it as containing indisputable maxims, 
applicable to occurrences which are in continual train ; 
and to facts which are universal, and which concern and 
should interest every human being. In this general way 
the widow of Tekoa herself uses it : " For we must 
needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which 
cannot be gathered up again ; neither doth God respect 
any person : yet doth he devise means, that his banished 
be not expelled from him." 

From these assertions I shall, 


I. Draw the general conclusion, that death is un- 
avoidable, for the reasons which I shall adduce. 

II. That no state or condition of man can exempt 
him from it. 

III. That all men are in a state of exile or banishment 
from God- 

IV- And that, notwithstanding the justice of their 
banishment, God has found out means for their restora- 

I. Death is unavoidable : we must needs die ; that is, 
there is a necessity why death should bring all mankind 
under his empire. 

The term necessity, from the Latin necessitas, requires, 
in such a connexion as this, definition. Our best Lexi- 
cographers, without attempting to point out its compo- 
nent parts, give it this general definition, — cogency, com- 
pulsion, inevitable consequence ; that state of such things 
as must be as they are, and cannot possibly be other- 
wise, without implying a contradiction; and therefore 
cannot cease to be what they are, and as they are, 
unless they be annihilated, or undergo an essential 
alteration of their nature; and therefore it has been 
derived by grammarians from non cessans esse, not ceasing 
to be what it is ; because, if it did cease to be what it 
now is, that which it was ceases to exist. Sometimes it 
signifies need, want, poverty; that without which we 
cannot live, or be comfortable in life; such as air to 
inflate the lungs, power of contraction and dilatation of 
the heart, in order to the circulation of the blood, with- 
out which we cannot live ; food, without which we can 
at no time live comfortably ; and must totally cease to 
live if proper aliment be not supplied. Thus the man's 
death was necessary or unavoidable, because he had no 


food — his lungs collapsed, and he could not breathe — his 
heart ceased to receive and convey the blood, and there- 
fore he died, and could not, in such circumstances, but 
die. His death was necessary or unavoidable, because 
he wanted what was necessary or needful to support life. 
And he may be said to be under a double necessity of 
dying, who not only wants what is needful to support 
life, but is also in or under the influence of circum- 
stances which from their own natural operation would 
inevitably deprive him of life. The unavoidableness of 
death is that which is here intended by we must needs 
die ; there is a necessity for it : 

1. Because we are now naturally mortal, and cannot 
live always. 

2. The Author of life, who has the supreme authority 
over us, has most positively declared to men, " Ye shall 
surely die." 

3. Because the very means of life tend remotely to 
destroy it. 

4. Without death, the resurrection of the body, and 
its ultimate immortality, cannot take place, nor be in- 

Therefore, roe must needs die, in order to become im- 
mortal — in order to bear the bitter pains of an eternal 
death, or to enjoy the fulness of an eternal joy and 
felicity at the right hand of God. 

"With any other acceptations of the word necessity, 
my subject is not concerned. I leave, therefore, absolute 
necessity, physical necessity, moral necessity, casual ne- 
cessity, fatality, compulsion, free agency, &c, to their 
relative subjects. 

Then 1st, " We must needs die," because we are na- 
turally mortal; and cannot, in our present connexions 
and circumstances, live always. But it may at once be 
asked, Whence does this necessity arise ? 



That £rod made man conditionally immortal cannot, I 

think, be reasonably doubted. Though formed out of 

the dust of the earth, his Maker breathed into his nostrils 

the breath of life, and he became a living soul ; and as 

there was then nothing violent, nothing out of its place, 

no agent too weak or too slow on the one hand, or too 

powerful or too active on the other ; so all the operations 

of nature were duly performed in time, in quantity, and 

in power, according to the exigencies of the ends to be 

accomplished. So that in number, weight, and measure, 

everything existed and acted, according to the unerring 

wisdom and skill of the omnipotent Creator. There 

could, therefore, be no corruption or decay ; no disorderly 

induration, nor preternatural solution or solubility of any 

portions of matter. No disorders in the earth ; nothing 

noxious or unhealthy in the atmosphere. The vast 

mass was all perfect ; the parts of which it was composed 

equally so. As he created, so he upheld all things by 

the word of his power ; and as he created all things, so 

by him did all things consist: thus expressed by the 

apostle, Colos. i. 17 : Kat avrog tan irpo iravruyv, kcli ra 

-Kavra iv avru) owearriice. " And he is before all things ; 

and by him all things stand together" — cohere, keep 

their respective places, and accomplish their appointed 

ends. And among these, Man : every solid had its due 

consistency, — every fluid its proper channel; some for 

support and strength, others for activity and energy ; and 

the various fluids to conduct to every part the necessary 

supplies, and to furnish those spirits by whose natural 

and regular agency life, under God, is sustained. 

I have stated that man was created conditionally im- 
mortal ; for God, who had a right to impose on him, as 
a free agent, what conditions he thought proper, and that 
line of duty, which as a subject to his Sovereign he was 
bound to observe, said, when he placed him in the 


garden of Eden, "Of every tree of the garden thou 
mayest freely eat ; but of the tree of the knowledge of 
good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it ; for in the day 
thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die ;" man mo mot 
tamut — " Dying thou shalt die." Thou shalt then lose 
the principle on which thy immortality depends ; thou 
shalt, on the breach of this precept, begin to die^-r-" thou 
shalt ultimately return unto the ground, for out of it 
wast thou taken ; for dust thou art, and unto dust thou 
shalt return." This simple, plain, easy condition, on 
which depended his immortality, he broke ; and thus 
forfeited his right to the blessing with which he was 
naturally endowed ; and thus corruption and decay, and 
a disorderly course of nature, were superinduced ; the 
air that he breathed became unfriendly to the continual 
support of life ; the seeds of dissolution were engendered 
in his constitution, and out of these various diseases 
sprang, which, by their repeated attacks, sapped the 
foundation of life, till at last the fruit of his disobedience 
verified the judgment of his Creator ; for after living a 
dying life, it was at last terminated by death. 

Now, as all have sinned, so death passed upon all men ; 
therefore, " we must needs die, and are as water spilt on 
the ground, that cannot be gathered up again." 

2dly, The Author of life, who has the supreme au- 
thority over us, has most positively declared to sinful 
men, " Ye shall surely die." 

We have seen that death had no place among the 
works of the Creator, at the beginning. It was threat- 
ened as an evil, when the test of obedience was given to 
man. Had it been a thing natural or unavoidable, why 
should it be mentioned as the penalty of transgression ? 
Why should it be intimated that such a thing should take 
place, should they be disobedient, that must have taken 
place in the order of natural cause and effect, whether 

» 2 


they were obedient or not ? Neither pain, disease, ex- 
hausting labour, nor any of the ills of life, that are the 
forerunners and concomitant causes of death, are spoken 
of at all, but as things whose existence was possible, and 
only certain if disobedience took place. Before sin 
entered into the world, it was simply threatened as a 
cautionary measure, to prevent the fall to which a free- 
agent was exposed : " In the day thou eatest of it, thou 
shalt surely die. When sin entered into the world, then 
death entered by sin ; and it was not till after this fatal 
and ruinous ingress that God said to the first mother, 
" I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and conception ; in 
sorrow thou shalt bring forth children ; and thy desire 
shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." 

Nor was our offending first father to be treated with 
greater indulgence ; for to him, thus said the Lord : 
" Adam, where art thou ? Hast thou eaten of the tree 
whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat ? 
Because thou hast eaten of the tree, of which I com- 
manded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it : cursed is 
the ground for thy sake (i-nam badbureca, on thy ac- 
count, or because of thee) ; in sorrow shalt thou eat of 
it all the days of thy life ; thorns also and thistles shall 
it bring forth to thee ; and thou shalt eat the herb of 
the field ; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, 
till thou return unto the ground ; for out of it wast thou 
taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou 

Now all this clearly proves, not only that there was no 
death before sin, but also that there was no predisposing 
cause of death, — nothing that, in the course of nature, 
could bring it about. The ground was fertile ; and it 
seems there were neither noxious nor troublesome pro- 
ductions from the soil ; and the benediction of the Most 
High rested upon the earth, mountains, hills, plains, and 


valleys ; but when sin entered, what a change ! The 
glebe becomes stubborn and intractable; noxious and 
troublesome weeds have their full growth ; though the 
husbandman exerts all his muscular force in painful and 
exhausting labour, his toil is ill repaid ; thorns and thistles 
—every genus, family, and order, of injurious plants 
spring up with rapid speed, into destructive perfection ; 
and often, when the labourer is about to fill his arms 
with the productions of a painfully-earned harvest, a 
blight vitiates the grain ; tornadoes and tempests shake 
it out of its husk, and give it to the fowls of the air, or 
tear up the stalks from the root, and scatter them to the 
winds of heaven; or land-floods carry off the shocks 
which stood nearly ready to be housed ; and thus the 
hope of the husbandman perishes. By these, and by 
various other means, does the righteous God fulfil the 
purposes of his justice, and accomplish his declaration — 
" In sorrow shalt thou eat of it ;" for on thy account, the 
earth itself is cursed. Thou shalt return to the ground 
whence thou wert taken. Thou hast forfeited thy natural 
happiness and immortality — death spiritual has already 
entered thy soul, and the death of thy body shall soon 
succeed — thou shalt die! Thus spake the God of 
justice and unchangeable truth. He who alone could 
create, and who alone can destroy. He spoke — his 
word was/asfe/ 

Therefore, we must needs die; though he is not the 
author of death, nor has pleasure in the destruction of 
the living. 

3rdly, We must die, because, in the present order of 
things, the means of life tend ultimately to destroy it. 

In the order of divine providence there are two kinds 
of aliment, from the consumption of which man is to 
derive his support, — vegetables and flesh ; and to pre- 
pare each for his digestive powers, his jaws are furnished 

72 death unavoidable; 

each with a complete set of teeth, variously configured 
for their respective purposes ; some for cutting, some for 
tearing, and some for grinding ; hence divided by ana- 
tomists into three classes : — 1. Denies incisores, or cuttkig- 
teeth, what we would call the biting-teeth ; which have 
their place in the front of the mouth. 2. Denies canini, 
the dog-teeth, or those by which we rend and tear tough 
substances, such as flesh ; and these are situated on each 
side of the incisors. 3. Dentes molares, or grinding- 
teeth, mill-stone teeth, also double teeth and grinders, 
by which w6 reduce seeds, vegetables, and flesh into 
their smallest parts, that when taken into the stomach 
they may be more easily acted on by its muscles and the 
juices it contains. But notwithstanding this merciful 
provision of necessity, and provision for its supply, so far 
has mortality seized upon the whole frame of man, that, 
in general, the decay of the teeth renders the mastica- 
tion of the food imperfect, so that it is ill or imperfectly 
digested in the stomach ; on this account the chyle ex- 
tracted from the food is neither in sufficient quantity to 
repair the wastes of nature ; nor is it sufficiently elabo- 
rated tL afford a wholesome blood, and the various fluids 
necessary for the preservation of the human frame ; 
hence, indigestion, and the various crudities that torment 
the bowels, independently of the evils which tHe stomach 
itself — the whole intestinal canal, the kidneys, the liver, 
the lungs, and the other viscera — suffer ; which impede 
their operations, and are unavoidably sapping the foun- 
dations of life. The heart itself, though the strongest 
and naturally healthiest of all the viscera, partakes of 
the general lethal calamity ; the blood is languidly re- 
ceived and transmitted; its stimulating property im- 
paired, the circulation in the fine or capillary vessels, in 
the extremities, becomes very torpid; the smallest are 
soon stopped or obliterated : hence, the nourishment of 


such parts being very imperfect, the feet and legs become 
cold, feeble, and rigid ; and the hands and arms palsied. 
The eyes partake of the general imperfection; the 
humours and muscles that constitute their principal sub- 
stance become opaque, flattened, and lose their vigour. 
»In short, to follow the beautiful metaphorical description 
of Solomon, they that look out of the windows are dark- 
ened; the sound of the grinding is low, the teeth being de- 
cayed ; the scalp or skin of the head becoming thin, the 
juices necessary to nourish the hair fail, — so that it falls 
off. The silver cord — the whole nervous system — is 
loosed; and hence that direful train of those mental 
and corporeal maladies that often make life a burden. 
The golden bowl — the brain, the origin of the nerves, 
and, as is supposed, the place where reason keeps its seat, 
where thought and reflection are formed, is broken, ren- 
dered unfit to perform its functions with requisite vigour. 
The pitcher is broken at the fountain — the vena cava, 
which brings back the blood to the right ventricle of the 
heart. The wheel is broken at the cistern — the great 
aorta, which receives the blood from the left ventricle to 
distribute it to the different parts of the system — ceases to 
receive, and the other to impart it ; the pulse necessarily 
ceases, the lungs collapse and cease to respire, the blood 
is no longer oxidized, all voluntary motion, as well as 
sensation, ceases ; and the man, dying, even through the 
means of life, so many years, now dies ! Then the dust 
returns to its dust, and the spirit, finding its clay tene- 
ment no longer habitable, returns to God who gave it ; 
see Eccles. xii. 2 — 7- Man, therefore, cannot continue 
by reason of death ; howsoever warded off for a time, it 
finally triumphs ; for the counsel of the Lord shall stand ; 
thus, " We must needs die, and are as water spilt on 
the ground." 
4thly, We must die to become immortal. 


As death of any kind is a violence and imperfection in 
nature, it could not have existed in the beginning. God 
had created no living thing with a necessary liability to 
death : it could have been no part of his design ; decay, 
corruption, and dissolution could not affect any of his 
works, as proceeding from his hand : yet we see that this 
primitive state did not continue : now innumerable dis- 
eases affect animal life ; even the brute creation are liable 
to them, and these, sooner or later, terminate in death. 
It is the same with the human being ; man, like to them, 
has his infancy, youth, mature age, old age, decrepi- 
tude, and death. " Cursed is the earth for thy sake," 
is a mighty vortex which has involved the whole animal 
creation. The creature, we find, is subject to vanity; yea, 
" the whole creation groaneth, and travaileth together in 
pain, until now," Rom. viii. 20 — 22. Sin entered into 
the world, and death by sin; and this did not affect 
our first parents only, but the whole of their posterity, 
for "sin hath reigned unto death from Adam to Moses :" 
as the apostle expresses it — "even over them who had 
not sinned after the similitude of his transgression," 
Rom. v. 14 ; and since that time, death has proceeded 
to abridge life, that he might bring in a total destruc- 
tion — for such is the natural tendency of this evil. But 
God has been pleased to arrest its impetuosity, and 
limit its operations ; and threescore and ten years have 
been assigned by the Sovereign of the world, as that 
general boundary, beyond which few can pass, and to 
which, with care, temperance, and piety, all may reach. 
Adam was permitted to live 930 years; his son Seth, 
912 ; his son's son Enos, 905 ; Cainan, the descendant 
of the latter, 910; and generally after the time of the 
above patriarchs, life became gradually abridged; and 
although Noah had attained 950 years, and his grand- 
father Methuselah had reached to the high age of 969, 


beyond which human life had never been extended ; yet 
after this, life became progressively shortened, till the 
limit of threescore and ten years was fixed by the will 
and authority of the Author of life. Yet how few 
reach it, so prevalent is sin, the fountain of indolence, 
intemperance, and disorderly passions : which, as a 
mighty and overwhelming land-flood, is sweeping away 
thousands of human beings daily ! But how long soever 
protracted, each man's earthly duration terminates with, 
he died, or was slain, or slew himself- — the three horrible 
gates which sin has opened into eternity, through which 
impetuously rush all the successive generations of men ! 
But are they ingulfed in the great unfathomable abyss 
for ever ? Does death feed upon them eternally ? Is 
there no redemption from this awful effect of its ravages? 
Are we, in the most positive sense of the word, " like 
water spilt upon the ground, which cannot be gathered 
up again ?" No ! there shall be a resurrection both of 
the just and unjust ; but this is not a necessary conse- 
quence of the preceding effects or cause. It springs not 
from nature, nor from any law by which nature is go- 
verned. There is no principle of regeneration or revivi- 
fication in the putrid corpse, nor in that dust into which 
it is finally resolved. The resurrection of the human 
body springs from the justice and mercy of the supreme 
Governor. Even a direct promise of it scarcely exists 
in that Revelation which contains the history of the crea- 
tion and fall of man ; and of the various dispensations 
of grace and justice, by which God governed the world 
for more than 4000 years ; and what does appear in those 
sacred writings relative to this, is there by anticipation ; 
for the resurrection of the body is properly a doctrine of 
the New Testament; and comes solely by Him who 
was delivered for our offences, and rose again for our jus- 
tification. He alone is the resurrection and the life ; 



for since |>y man came sin and death, by man came also 
the resurrection of the dead ; " for, as in Adam all died, 
even so in Christ shall all be made alive." Had he not 
died and risen again from the dead, there had been no 
resurrection of the dead ; all had finally perished ; but 
now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first- 
fruits of them that slept." See the powerful reasoning 
of the apostle of the Gentiles on this momentous sub- 
ject, 1 Cor. xv. 12, &c. The promise of a resurrection 
is a promise of the New Testament; the doctrine is 
there alone stated and explained. The resurrection of 
Christ is the basis on which it rests, and the proof of its 
certainty ; for he alone has brought life and immortality 
to light — or, as the apostle has beautifully expressed it, 
KarapyijaavTOQ fitv tov Qavarov, QuiTiffavrog §e Z,u}j)v, Kai 
ci(j>Qap<nav Sia tov svayytXKiov, 2 Tim. i. 10 : " He hath 
counterworked death, and illustrated life and incorruption 
by the gospel;" whatsoever undermined life, to bring 
about corruption and death, he hath countermined ; and 
from the darkness of death, and his empire of corruption, 
he hath brought into full view that life of which he is 
the author; and that immortality which is the conse- 
quence of destroying death, that last enemy. So " this 
corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal, 
immortality; and then shall be brought to pass that saying 
(which darkly intimated what is now clearly revealed), 
i Death is swallowed up in victory.' " 

Now, although many of the things spoken of by the 
apostle belong properly to the state of genuine Chris- 
tians, yet the general subject includes all ; as all must 
needs die, so all shall rise again from the dead; the 
human body shall then be built up on indestructible 
principles, a principle of immortality shall preserve it ; 
it shall no more live by supplies received from the animal 
and vegetable creation ; which, as we have seen, while 


they nourish for a time, are nevertheless planting in our 
nature the seeds of decay and dissolution. For as flesh 
and blood, in their present state, cannot enter into the 
eternal world, nor can corruption inherit incorruption, all 
shall arise immortal ; for Death himself being destroyed, 
and consequently all the predisposing causes that led to 
his dominion, there can be no more death, corruption, 
nor decay: man shall become immortal — an immortal 
body must be associated with an immortal spirit, to dwell 
together in that eternal state, where no change of ele- 
ments or substance that might affect identity, form, or 
continuance, can ever take place. 

Now, as all shall arise, and many through their perver- 
sity, and obstinate continuance in transgression, have died 
in their sins ; it follows, that of the many "that sleep in 
the dust of the earth, some shall awake to everlasting 
life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt," Dan. 
xii. 2. For while " the righteous shall shine forth like 
the sun, in the kingdom of their Father ; the wicked 
shall be turned into hell, with all the people that forget 
God." Hell is no place of decay or dissolution : there 
is an unquenchable fire — there is a worm that never dies : 
and the subject on which those agents will act, shall be 
as deathless as themselves. 

To such persons, there shall be an eternal separation 
from God, and banishment from the glory of his power. 
As the whole man has sinned, so the whole man must 
suffer ; and the vengeance of eternal fire cannot be suf- 
fered but by him who is immortal. The wicked, there- 
fore, must die a natural death, that they may be raised 
immortal, in order to be capable of enduring the punish- 
ment due to their crimes ; and the righteous must die, 
and be raised immortal, in order that they may be capa- 
ble of dwelling eternally in the presence of God, and be- 
holding his glory. 

78 death unavoidable; 

This is not the unwarranted assertion of man ; it is 
the awful decision of the Judge of quick and dead ! Hear 
him ! " When the Son of man shall come in his glory, 
and before him shall be gathered all nations : he shall 
separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth 
sheep from goats ; and he shall set the sheep on his right 
hand, and the goats on his left. Then shall he say to those 
on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit 
the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the 
world" — (for which procedure he gives the reasons) ; 
" also he shall say to them on his left hand, Depart from 
me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil 
and his angels" — (and for this decision he gives also the 
reasons) ; and then orders the execution of the unchange- 
able purpose in this solemn declaration : Kat airikivoovrai 
ovtoi tig KoXaaiv auaviov' 01 de Sucaioi eiq £wjjv auaviov, 
" And these shall go away into eternal punishment ; but 
the righteous into eternal life," Matt. xxv. 46. The 
words which point out the duration of the state of both 
these classes, are the same : as the life is eternal, so is 
the punishment. Men may quibble and trifle here, but 
their desperate criticisms will not be urged there. There 
is no injustice in hell, more than there is in heaven. He 
who does not deserve it, shall never fall into the bitter 
pains of an eternal death ; and no man shall ever eat of 
the tree of life in heaven who has not a right to it. 
" Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they 
may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in 
through the gates into the city," Rev. xxii. 14. The 
former would not come to God, that they might have life ; 
therefore they deserve perdition. The latter gladly ac- 
cepted the pardon purchased for and offered to all through 
his blood, and received the spirit of holiness to sanctify 
and refine their souls for the kingdom of heaven ; " they 
have overcome by the blood of the Lamb, and his testi- 


mony, therefore they are before the throne, and they 
shall walk with him in white, for they are worthy." Yet 
still hell was made only for the devil and his angels, not 
for man ; — man is an intruder into it ; no human spirit 
shall ever be found there but through its own fault. He 
who refuses the only means of salvation, is lost. God 
willed* not his death. 

Having now considered the general conclusion from 
the text, that death is unavoidable, for the reasons which 
I have adduced and illustrated ; I return to the subject 
under the second head. 

II. That no state or condition of man can exempt him 
from it. 

That it has been the study of man for nearly 6,000 
years to prevent this generally reputed great calamity, 
needs little proof; life to man is the dearest thing he 
can conceive : when exposed to death, everything is put 
to stake in order to turn aside the danger, and preserve 

A being who has from long experience a deep know- 
ledge of human affairs, and of the human heart, has said, 
" Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath, will he give for 
his life :" and on the same ground is the universal maxim 
placed, Self-preservation is the first laro of nature ; and 
from the same principle sprang the whole system of 
physic, with all pretensions to the art of healing, and to 
the millions of specifics which, through successive ages, 
ignorance and imposture have told the public would cure 
all the maladies of man. Every nostrum said in effect 
to every patient (suffering more from the botchery of the 
charlatan, than he did from the disease by which he was 
afflicted), Take this, and thou shalt not surely die. Time 
and experience took off the mask, and the infallible, and 
the probatum est, were equally discredited, because they 
were found equally inefficient. 


There was, however, little respite to poor suffering hu- 
manity, fot the next bold adventurer, who knew how to 
practise on the love of life, and brought forth his powders 
and fluids, fortified with a list of cases in which they had 
been successfully applied, was sure to meet with encou- 
ragement : and hence it has been justly said, "Nothing in 
the history of society is so inexplicable as the proneness 
to believe in quackery ;" but this may be in part accounted 
for from this simple circumstance, that the empiric most 
confidently promises what the patient most ardently de- 
sires. Take this bottle — take this box, and ye shall 
not surely die. Immortality, in effect, is everywhere pro- 
mised'; and the desire for and hope of life absorb every 
inquiry ; reason and judgment are put to sleep, the man 
surrenders himself into the hands of his unknown enemy, 
his final sleep soon hushes every complaint, and the 
grave covers a multitude of sins. 

All these things are daily occurrences, yet the living 
lay it not to heart ! Though perhaps few men absolutely 
expect immortality in the present life, yet they put off 
death indefinitely : they allow that they are travelling 
towards it ; but it is a horizon that recedes as they ad- 
vance, and is ever at the same distance. Death is not 
seen in his approaches, nor felt in the continual sap which 
he is carrying on under the foundations of life ! Regu- 
lar medicine has promised much, and done little; but 
the alchemistic chemistry has promised more, and with 
greater plausibility. 

In all ages and countries since the time of Constantine 
the Great (and many carry it to a much higher antiquity), 
there has been a class of medical philosophers, well read 
for their respective times, in chemistry, who thought 
that nature tended to bring everything to perfection, but 
required the assistance of art to enable it to succeed. As 
to metals, they considered gold only to be in a state of 


perfection ; that all the other metals were imperfect, only 
because they had not of themselves a sufficient energy to 
bring their respective seeds to maturity. Silver, lead, 
tin, and quicksilver, they considered as making the near- 
est approach to the perfection of gold ; and all their 
labour was directed to find out a tincture that would 
communicate the requisite energy ; depurate and impreg- 
nate the comparatively imperfect mass, and bring about 
a speedy transmutation ! This, called also the philoso- 
pher's stone, many of them professed to have obtained, 
and therefore were called Adepts. From their reasonings 
on the purifying and transmutation of metals, which 
they considered to be a healing and subliming of their 
diseased nature, they thought that the tincture which 
brought them into a state of health and perfection, might 
be applied successfully to the healing of all the diseases 
incident to the human, and even brute creation ; and 
not only preserve them in health, but continue life inde- 
finitely. This also they professed to have obtained, and 
they termed it the elixir and the grand elixir, and 
roundly asserted that they who used it before any of 
the functions of life were essentially injured, would 
never die. A violent death only could affect them*$ but 
the use of the elixir would infallibly repair all the wastes 
of nature, destroy all contagion, and ever maintain the 
healthiest action in all parts of the animal machine. 
This secret they say all the patriarchs possessed, and 
this alone accounts for their extraordinary longevity! 
Arabia, Germany, Holland, France, and England pro- 
duced many of those highly learned and favoured men, 
from the twelfth to the eighteenth century, who not 
only attracted the veneration of the lower classes, but 
also the notice of kings, queens, and nobles of all coun- 
tries. All these had steadily in view these two points, 
1. To transmute the inferior metals into gold, that they 

82 death unavoidable; 

might build churches, endow hospitals, and in a word, de- 
stroy poverty ! 2. To heal infected nature, procure an 
established and unimpairable state of health, banish 
sorrow and sighing; and in effect, destroy death; so 
that we must needs die should have no foundation in na- 
ture, and might be blotted out of the Bible ! 

Several of our own countrymen were professing pos- 
sessors of this grand secret : Friar Bacon, Thomas Nor- 
ton, John Dastin, George Ripley, Sir Edward Kelly, 
Pearce, the black monk, Starkey, Vaughan, &c. &c. 
Even spirits were evoked by John Dee and others, to 
assist in the speedy perfection of this work ! On the 
continent, Nicholas Flammel, Basil Valentine, Sandivo- 
gius, Isaac and John Holland, Raymond Lully, Arte- 
phius (who arrived, as it is said, to the age of 900 years), 
J. Pontanus, and Theophrastus Paracelsus, who might 
have lived still, had he not neglected to fortify himself 
by a few drops of the elixir, when he went into a house 
infected by the plague, by which he lost his life ! I pass 
by those of modern times, several of whom I have known, 
who laboured hard, spent much property in the fire, and 
were ever on the very eve of success, when " disappoint- 
ment laughed at hope's career," by the extinction of the 
fire — by the carelessness of a servant — the oversetting of 
a cup, — breaking of a retort, or cracking of a crucible ! 
&c. But where are now, 

■" Those mighty masters of the healing art." 

They are gone with the years beyond the flood. They 
have returned to the ground from which they were 
taken : — Dust they were, and unto dust they have re- 
turned ! After all their pretensions — after all their la- 
bour — after all their hopes and imaginations, — they ar- 
rived at the period, when the words of the widow of 
Tekoa poured contempt on all their expectations ; they 


heard the knell of death, and feeling his dart, were 
obliged to exclaim, we, also, must needs die ! 

Some modern political philosophers have gone so far, 
as to imagine, that there is a certain perfectibility in 
human nature which, under proper management, might 
be so exalted, as to induce such a healthy state of the 
human constitution, that a very great extension of the 
term of life might be the consequence — that the mind, so 
intent on its own improvement, would rise above animal 
propensities, feel no desire to propagate the human spe- 
cies ; and, consequently, the long extended life of the 
community would bring about neither want nor famine, 
as procreation would be at least very unfrequent ! This 
also was soon discovered to be vanity and vexation of 
spirit; for — we must needs die, met the hypothesis at 
every turn. 

Widely different from all those schemes to avoid death 
and gain immortality in this life, is that of Mr. John 
Asgill, a member both of the Irish and English House of 
Commons, who, sometime about 1700, published and de- 
tailed it in a book entitled, " An Argument proving that, 
according to the Covenant of Eternal Life, revealed in 
the Scriptures, man may be translated from hence into 
that Eternal Life, without passing through Death :" 
although the human nature of Christ himself could not 
be thus translated ; for it was necessary, in the gospel 
economy, that he should suffer death. 

The leading features of his scheme are the following : 
Man, who through his fall is liable to death, is yet by 
faith in Christ restored, not only to the favour of God, 
through whom he receives a seed of eternal life, so that 
he shall never die everlastingly ; but also when the bu- 
siness of life is ended, he shall be translated, so that he 
shall never see death in this state of being : and hence 
this gentleman was called translated Asgill. The Scrip- 

84 death unavoidable; 

tures on which he chiefly founded his opinion, are, Luke 
xx. 34 — 36, " The children of this world marry, and are 
given in marriage : but they who shall be accounted 
worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from 
the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage, nei- 
ther can they die any more : for they are equal unto the 
angels, being the children of the resurrection ;" and John 
xL 25, "Jesus saith unto her, I am the Resurrection 
and the Life ; he that believeth in me, though he were 
dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and be- 
lieveth in me, shall never die." 

This scheme had some peculiar recommendations, as 
founded professedly on Divine Revelation, and especially 
on the gospel of Christ, in the exceeding great and pre- 
cious promises which it gives to genuine Christians. But 
some paragraphs having been culled from his work, 
which the House of Commons decided to be " profane 
and blasphemous," neither of which were ever intended 
by the honest man, he was in 1707 expelled the British 
House of Commons, having been previously expelled from 
the Irish House on account of the same book ! He 
wrote a long defence of himself and his work, in which 
he says, " He was ejected from the Irish House, because 
he had too much land ; and from the British House be- 
cause he had too little money." But, after all, poor Mr. 
A. found that he must needs die ; and he is now " as 
water spilt on the ground which cannot be gathered up 

I might add here, that there are certain cases in which 
the prolongation of life would be a curse. How many 
tyrants, and other oppressors of suffering humanity, who 
were like the most destructive pestilence, diffusing over 
whole regions calamity and death, and whose mad career 
of human butchery no hand of man could stop, have been 
arrested by the strong arm of the Almighty, and c!e- 


liyered over to death, that the bleeding- world might 
have respite, and the desolate places again become in- 
habited ! Had many years been added to the lives of 
such men, what might have been the consequence, who 
can tell ? While consternation and death walked before 
them ; and famine and desolation followed in their train ; 
it was some consolation even to think, " These cannot 
continue, by reason of death." But what shouting and 
triumph were there when it was known — they are brought 
down, — laid low, — even unto the dust ! 

Again, were it not for death, as an agent in the hand 
of God, how fearfully would the science of iniquity be 
in many cases perfected, and the trade of sin be extended! 
Some seem to live only to invent schemes of sin, and 
bring to perfection the practice of transgression. Were 
the lives of such to be protracted to the extent of those 
of the antediluvians, so that they might have the oppor- 
tunity of maturing their schemes, and improving the 
modes and instruments of aggression and spoliation ; and 
of teaching their science to all those who might be will- 
ing to learn (and countless multitudes would be their 
pupils) ; sin and its practice would be multiplied in the 
earth beyond all conception, and to the most fearful ex- 
tent. But see the divine economy : wicked men do 
not live out half their days, limited even as life now is. 
Death is a grand agent in the hand of the God of justice 
to stop their career, blast their plans, and confound their 
devices. Thus iniquity is not multiplied in the earth to 
that overwhelming extent to which it would have been, 
had not the life of man been shortened. Was it not on 
this very principle, that God destroyed the primitive 
earth by a flood, and permitted one righteous family only 
to remain; the great family of sin being all cut off. 
Their infernal arts and diabolical sciences have all pe- 
rished ; the earth arose anew under better auspices, and 

86 death unavoidable; 

life was ^abridged, that the fallen principle might not 
have time to mature its plans of transgression; yet, a 
gracious Creator granted what is sufficient for all to work 
out their salvation, to recover that divine image which 
they had lost, and be prepared, by his mercy, for the en- 
joyment of eternal glory. 

After having proved that death is unavoidable, and 
shown the folly of the attempts that have been made to 
elude it ; I come now to consider what may be called 
the reason by which the widow of Tekoa supports her 
argument, in reference to the fulfilment of her request, 
viz., " God hath devised means that his banished be not 
expelled from him." From which I shall take occasion 
to show, — 

III. That all men are in a state of banishment from 

To see this the more plainly, we must collate the pri- 
mitive with the present state of man : a few postulates 
are here necessary ; viz., God made man. Whatsoever 
he has made was made perfect in its kind ; it had nothing 
too much — nothing too little ; there was no superabun- 
dance, for that would have been useless, and argued want 
of economy ; there was nothing deficient, for that would 
have argued want of skill, or of materials, or of effective 

All the various genera and species of stones, of mine- 
rals, of vegetables, and animals, were perfect in their 
kinds: for example, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sap- 
phires, &c, were perfect in their kinds; so were the 
different kinds of Rocks — granites, basalts, limestone, 
sandstone, &c. All the different genera of Vegetables 
— oaks, ashes, elms, &c. All seeds, grasses, flowers, &c, 
were perfect in their kinds. All Animals — beasts, cattle, 
fowls, fishes, insects, and reptiles, were perfect each in 
its kind. Man, the noblest of all, and for whom all 


these were made, was perfect in his kind, composed of 
body and spirit; the former was perfect in all its parts, 
the latter in all its powers and faculties. But his spirit 
was endowed with a peculiar perfection and excellence, 
for it was made in the image and likeness of God, Gen. 
i. 26. And this image, according to the apostle, con- 
sisted in righteousness, truth, and holiness, Eph. iv. 24. 
Now, as between God, the Fountain of righteousness, 
holiness, and truth, and all spirits who are partakers of 
these excellencies, there must be an intimate union, for 
these properties cannot exist independently of him, there- 
fore man was made in union with God. In him, he not 
only lived, moved, and had his being; but everything 
answered the purpose for which God made it. With 
the will of his Maker, there was a perfect consent in his 
will — in all its volitions, and in all the acts founded on 
and proceeding from those volitions. All that was in 
him, all that proceeded from him, God beheld to be very 
good ; he walked with God, dwelt in God, was one with 
God, and God with him. With his Maker, he had the 
closest intimacy, and the strongest fellowship. As God 
is omnipresent, wheresoever man moved, in all the direc- 
tions his body could go, and in all the excursions his 
mind could take, he ever met the fountain of his being 
and blessings ; and the object of all the wishes and de- 
sires of his heart. Between him and his God there was 
no distance ; and there could be none, because of this 
sameness of nature : and had his nature continued the 
same, this union and intimacy must have continued. 
But, man being in this honour continued not ; by the 
envy of the devil sin entered into the world : Sin, that 
which implies the total absence of righteousness, truth, 
and holiness, and the presence of the evil principle of 
wickedness, falsity, and impurity ; from which flowed 
enmity to God and goodness ; alienation of affection and 


desire from the supreme Good ; and transgression of the 
law of God, as the effect of this alienation and enmity. 
Man therefore was no longer in union with his Maker ; 
nor could he be, for what concord can there be between 
hatred and love, truth and falsehood, holiness and im- 
purity, in a word, between Christ and Belial. As an 
abominable thing, he was driven out of Paradise, and 
that act of expulsion was emblematical of his banishment 
from the presence of God and the glory of his power. 
All his descendants partook of his apostate nature ; and 
all evidenced the influence of the body and soul of sin 
and death, by transgression against God, and obstinate 
rebellion : and thus it has continued through all genera- 
tions to the present day — all have sinned, and all in con- 
sequence are banished from the manifestation of his 
glorious presence. He is not in all their thoughts, their 
ways are not his ways : heaven is not more distant from 
the earth, than his thoughts are from their thoughts, and 
his ways from their ways. And had not mercy rejoiced 
over judgment, every human soul would have been 
banished into everlasting fire, to dwell with devils and 
damned spirits, through ages of a hopeless end. But 
such is the blinding nature of sin, that man does not see 
this his banishment ; and such is its hardening nature, 
that he does not feel it. Yet it is worthy of especial re- 
mark, that, as soon as the conscience is awakened, and 
the divine light shines into the soul, the penitent sees 
and feels that he has lost his supreme Good, and that he 
is banished from the presence of his God and Father. 
He comes with weeping, and with supplicatipn is he led : 
he asks the way to Zion with his face thitherward, he 
seeks his forfeited inheritance, and the favour of his Maker, 
but so deep is he lost in the wilderness — so far into the 
strange country has he wandered from his Father s house, 
that he knows not whither to turn in ortfer to commence a 


return ; of the success of which, he finds it even difficult 
to hope : his complaint is like that of the most afflicted 
of men, " that I knew where I might find him, that 
I might come even to his seat ! Behold, I go forward, 
but he is not there ; and backwards, but I cannot per- 
ceive him : on the left hand where he doth work, but I 
cannot behold him : he hideth himself on the right hand 
that I cannot see him." Job xxiii. 3 — 9. Who shall 
give hope to this distressed soul ? That hope on which 
faith can legitimately rest ; for he acknowledges the jus- 
tice of his banishment ? God alone can give this hope, 
as we shall see in the next particular. 

IV For " He hath devised means that his banished 
be not expelled from him." 

There is something very remarkable and emphatic in 
the original, rrawn num vechasheb chasheboth, " he hath 
devised devices," or " he hath computed computations." 
The word nu>n chashab signifies to reckon, — compute, — 
lay one's thoughts together, — contrive, — superadd, — 
meditate, — scheme, — plan, — and, to be intently deter- 
mined on finding out ways and means to accomplish a 
particular end. It signifies also to embroider, to super- 
add figures to a cloth, on which they were to be ex- 
hibited ; and this requires skill in the plan, correctness 
in the outline, and the production of effect by the ar- 
rangement, colouring, and grouping of the figures. The 
word therefore shows that there was a difficulty in the 
case, which God alone could overcome, — that, speaking 
after the manner of men, it required a skill, forecast, 
and energy, which he alone could supply ; a scheme which 
astonished the prophets who predicted the salvation of 
man ; for " they inquired and searched diligently, what 
and what manner of time the spirit of Christ which was 
in them did signify,, when it testified beforehand the 
sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow; 


which things " the angels desire to look into ;" 1 Pet. i. 
10, ] 1. In short, the scheme was so difficult to execute, 
there being so many interests to be consulted, that Jeho- 
vah himself is represented as struck with wonder at the 
arduousness of the undertaking : " He saw that there 
was no man, he wondered that there was no intercessor ; 
therefore his own arm brought him salvation, and his 
righteousness sustained him." The interests that were 
involved were, the honour of God's justice, the exhibi- 
tion of his mercy, and the recovery of a lost world, by 
such means as should magnify God's law, and make it 
honourable, — make a free course for the current of his 
mercy in such a way as would be consistent with the 
requisitions of his justice ; and would be effectual to the 
full and free pardon of all the guilt of all sinners ; the 
complete purification of the ingrained pollution of all 
souls, and their restoration to the image of God, in which 
they had been created, and the enjoyment of that heaven 
which they had forfeited, and to which they were to be 
restored on the ground of a new right. 

1. To effect these mighty purposes, God, in his sove- 
reign love to the world, devised the plan of human re- 
demption, by the incarnation and sacrificial offering of 
Jesus the Christ, upon the cross ; " who made there, by 
his one oblation of himself once offered, a full, perfect, 
and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the 
sins of the whole world." Thus, divine justice was 
satisfied by a sacrifice offered by him who was " God 
manifested in the flesh ; and in whom dwelt all the ful- 
ness of the Godhead bodily." In him, "Mercy and 
truth met together ; righteousness and peace kissed each 
other." As man, he died for man ; as God, the sacrifice 
was infinitely meritorious. Then, by the preaching of 
the gospel, the grand jubilee was proclaimed, and all the 
exiled inhabitants of the earth were invited to return to 


him from whom they had so deeply revolted ; to receive, 
through the great Sacrifice and Mediator, " an inherit- 
ance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, 
reserved in heaven for them who are kept by the power 
of God through faith unto that salvation which is ready 
to be revealed in the last time." And, as " he died for 
our sins ; so, he was raised again for our justification :" 
and though " we must needs die, and are as water spilt 
upon the ground, that cannot be gathered up again ;" yet, 
in the morning of the general resurrection, " he will 
change our vile bodies, and make them like unto his 
glorious body, by that working by which he is able to 
subdue even all things unto himself;" so effectually hath 
God devised means that his banished should not be 
finally expelled from him. Who then that believes the 
glad sound, and that by faith presents the true sacrificial 
offering at the throne even of justice, as well as of grace, 
need fear death ? It is the last enemy, and even this 
last enemy shall be destroyed. Reader, then look to 
Jesus ! and when thou hast cast thy burden on the 
Lord, look on death, and see if he have got any terrors ; 
on the grave, and see if it be likely to triumph. No, — 
for He hath swallowed up death in victory. Reader, 
he hath died for thee ; believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, 
and thou shalt not perish, but have everlasting life ! 

2. But though the sacrificial death of Christ be the 
grand means and the cause whence human salvation 
floAvs, yet there are other means which God devises in 
order to make this effectual ; the law of God must be 
published to show man his righteousness. It must enter, 
that sin may be seen to abound ; by this law is the know- 
ledge of sin, for no man can see his guilty state, and the 
ruin to which he is exposed, unless he examine his 
conduct and the workings of his heart by the law ; in 
vain is salvation preached, unless sinners are shown that 




they need it. What are they to be saved from ? Is it 
not the curse of the law ? " Cursed is every one that 
continueth not in all things that are written in the book 
of the law to do them." This curse has fallen on every 
soul of man, for all have sinned and come short of the 
glory of God. And who sees the worth of the Gospel, 
who does not know the exceeding sinfulness of sin $ He 
who does not preach this law, strongly and fully, does 
not use one of the principal means which God has de- 
vised that his banished be not expelled from him. 

3. When this is done, and the sinners become terrified, 
and fearfulness surprises the hypocrites, then Jesus must 
be announced as the " Lamb of God that takes away the 
sin of the world;" — his incarnation, — his agony and 
bloody sweat, — his cross and passion, — his death and 
burial, — his glorious resurrection and triumphant ascen- 
sion, — with his mediation at the throne of God, must 
be all distinctly and powerfully announced, as proclaim- 
ing the way, the truth, and the life; and proving that 
" no man can come unto the Father but by him." If 
Jesus be preached without the law, sinners become 
either hardened or lost in their own presumption ; if the 
law be preached without Christ, sinners are driven into 
despair. Show Israel that he has destroyed himself; 
then show him that in this omnipotent Saviour his help 
is found. 

4. But even all this scriptural and rational preaching 
will avail nothing, unless another means of God's de- 
vising be superadded, in order to give it effect — the in- 
fluence of the Holy Spirit ; that Spirit that convinces 
of sin, righteousness, and judgment ; that Spirit of light 
and fire that penetrates the inmost recesses of the soul, 
dragging forth to the view of conscience the innumer- 
able crimes that were hidden under successive layers of 
deep darkness, when through this luminous, burning 


agency, the sinner is obliged to cry out, " What shall I 
do to be saved ?" " Save Lord, or I perish !" " Heal 
my soul, for it has sinned against thee !" When this 
conviction of sin is deepened in every part, and utter 
self-despair has taken full possession of the understand- 
ing and judgment, then that same Spirit will take of the 
things that are Christ's, and show them to the broken 
heart ; it will excite strong confidence in the sovereign 
availableness of his merits, who, by the grace of God, has 
tasted death for every man ; and when, through his mighty 
working, the penitent has laid hold on the hope set before 
him in the gospel, that Spirit, despatched from the throne 
of justice and grace, will bear witness with his spirit, 
that the great Sacrifice is accepted in his behalf, and he 
shall immediately hear, by no equivocal voice, " Son, be 
of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee !" On this 
news from above, he rejoices with joy unspeakable and 
full of glory ; finding that he is begotten again unto a 
living hope; knowing that if he abide in this faith, 
rooted and grounded in love, and be not moved away 
from the hope of the gospel, having his robes washed 
and made white by the blood of the Lamb, he shall 
soon obtain that inheritance that is incorruptible, un- 
defiled, and that fadeth not away, which is reserved in 
heaven for all the sons and daughters of God. 

5. Besides these, which are the grand means and 
cause of salvation, God devises many others, humanly 
speaking, of a minor character, suited to the various 
complexions and circumstances of men ; to bring the 
thoughtless man to a sense of his danger, and a convic- 
tion of his readiness to save. Several of these are 
beautifully detailed by Elihu, in his pathetic address to 
Job, chap, xxiii. 14 ; in dreams and visions of the night, 
he often opens the ears of man, and seals his instruction, 

e 2 


ver. 15, J. 6 ; he reduces his strength by sickness, chas- 
tening him with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of 
his bones with strong pain, and terrifies him with the 
fear of approaching death, ver. 19 — 22; in the course 
of his gracious providence he sends some of his faithful 
servants to visit him in his sickness, to show him his 
sinfulness, and the ransom which the Lord had provided 
for him, ver. 23, 24 ; thus he delivers his soul from 
going down to the pit, and his life sees the light, ver. 28. 
" Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, 
to bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened 
with the light of the living." 

6. In short, there is scarcely an occurrence in provi- 
dence that has not the same gracious tendency ; as he is 
continually pressing everything into the service of man, 
in order to his conversion, and causing all things to work 
together for good to them that love him. And all this 
devising of means, and constructing that apparently 
complex and astonishingly contrived apparatus of human 
redemption, justifies and illustrates that strong assertion 
of the Lord by his prophet : " Have I any pleasure at 
all that the wicked should die, saith the Lord God, and 
not that he should return from his way and live ?" "As 
I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the 
death of the wicked ; but that the wicked turn from his 
way and live. Turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways ; 
for why will ye die, O house of Israel ?" Ezek. xviii. 23, 
xxxiii. 11. 

Thus, reader, it is demonstrated, that though "we 
must needs die, and are as water spilt upon the ground, 
that cannot be gathered up again," and that " God re- 
specteth no man's person ;" " yet doth he devise means 
that his banished be expelled from him." Then 
believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, receive the gift of his 


Holy Spirit, and thou shalt not perish, but have ever- 
lasting life ! 

Now unto him that is able to keep us from falling, 
and to present us faultless before the presence of his 
glory with exceeding great joy ; to the only wise God 
our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, 
both now and ever. Amen. 



Psalm xv. 1 — 5. 

1. Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle'? who shall dwell in 

thy holy hill 1 

2. He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and 

speaketh the truth in his heart. 

3. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his 

neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. 

4. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned ; but he honoureth 

them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, 
and changeth not. 

5. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward 

against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never 
be moved. 

That divinely inspired man who has been called em- 
phatically the apostle of the Gentiles, has informed us 
that, " Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were 
written for our learning, that we, through patience and 
comfort of the Scriptures, might have hope ;" Rom. xv. 
4. Now, as he speaks here to those under the Christian 
dispensation, of those who lived under the Jewish dis- 
pensation, and consequently of those Scriptures which 
were given to Moses and the prophets by the inspiration 
of God, we learn that those Scriptures were not designed 


for the use and benefit of that people only, but were in- 
tended for the edification of both Jews and Gentiles, to 
the end of time. If, therefore, we were even to suppose 
that this Psalm was written toward the conclusion of 
the Babylonish captivity, and that it related to the set- 
tlement of the returning captives in their own land, and 
pointed out the restoration of the temple worship, and 
the character of the persons who should be found fit to 
be employed in it ; yet still, from the authority of the 
apostle, we have a right to claim it as designed for us 
also, and expect from it instruction, lessons of patience, 
comfort, and hope. 

But, losing sight of this point, we see that the subject 
is of the most general utility, and demands the most 
serious attention of all who believe in the immortality 
of the soul, and are concerned for their character here, 
and their future happiness. 

" Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle ? Who 
shall dwell in thy holy hill?" ver. 1. 

As it may be necessary to make a little alteration 
in the translation, it will be proper to introduce the 
original ; the alteration however, though important, will 
be very slight. : ivip -iro pw s n ibrwa -nr *o mrv Yeho- 
mh, mi yagur beaholeca ; mi yishcon behar kodsheca ? 
" O Jehovah, who shall sojourn in thy tabernacle ? Who 
shall dwell in the mountain of thy holiness V 
, The word abide refers to a permanent dwelling, a 
settled habitation, which is not the meaning of ma" yagur 
in the text. It is derived from -n gar or -m gur, to 
dwell anywhere for a time ; to inhabit as not in a settled 
dwelling ; to sojourn as a stranger ; and rather means a 
temporary lodging, or a sojourning, answering to the 
tabernacle, to which it refers ; and the word pir* yishcon, 
from pu> shacan, to remain, rest, sit still, or remain at 
rest, is properly enough translated dwell, or abide — to 


rest permanently, answering to the temple, or holy hill 
of God — Zion, to which it refers in the second clause of 
the verse. Now, for the hetter understanding of this 
twofold question, we should note the following parti- 
culars : 

1 . The Jewish tabernacle, which was a kind of move- 
able temple, and was migratory with the Israelites, in all 
their peregrinations from Egypt till their settlement in 
the Promised Land, is allowed by all to be a type of the 
church militant, or the state of the people of God in 
this world. 

2. Mount Zion, or the mountain of God's holiness, 
where Solomon s temple was built, and the divine wor- 
ship in all its ordinances became established, is allowed 
by the general voice of Jews and Gentiles to be a type 
of the kingdom of heaven. The ark, there become sta- 
tionary, being absorbed in the temple, was no longer 
carried about from place to place ; and the whole was 
typical of that city that hath foundations — of that rest 
that remaineth for the people of God. 

3. Of the tabernacle, which was a temporary and 
frequently removed building, it is said, in* *b mi yagur, 
who shall lodge or sojourn there? It was not a resi- 
dence or dwelling-place, but a place to lodge in for a 

4. On the contrary, the temple was a fixed and per- 
manent building; and relative to it, we have the in- 
quiry, pu>* "k mi yishcon, who shall dwell, abide, or have 
his permanent residence there ? 

5. As the tabernacle was a sort of migratory model 
of a temple, carried about on the shoulders of the priests 
and Levites, there was no dwelling there for any ; they 
could only lodge or sojourn at or round about it. 

6. The temple being fixed, the priests, Levites, &c, 
became permanent occupiers; there was no lodging or 


sojourning, but permanent residence for all connected 
with it. 

7- The tabernacle, therefore, is a proper type of the 
church militant^ wandering up and down, tossed by 
various storms and tempests ; the followers of God having 
here no continuing city — sojourning only in their state 
of probation on earth, and that only for a short time, in 
order to acquire a preparation for eternal glory. 

8. Also the temple is a proper type or emblem of the 
church triumphant in heaven. It is the dwelling-place, 
the eternal residence, of all who have been faithful unto 
death ; who are made " pillars in the temple of God, to 
go no more out for ever." Here the " wicked cease from 
troubling, and the weary are at rest." Having made 
the above remarks, which are founded on the letter of 
the text, we may next observe, that the whole subject 
resolves itself into two questions : — 

I. Who can be considered as a fit member for the 
church militant here below ? 

II. Who shall be made partaker of an endless glory 
in the church triumphant above ? 

These questions must necessarily be answered to- 

I. Who can be considered a fit member of the church 
of Christ here below ? 

To this question the inspired writer answers, — 

" He that walketh uprightly and worketh righteous- 
ness, and speaketh the truth in his heart," ver. 2. 

In a word, he is a man that is, 1st. Upright. He is 
an honest man : " He walketh uprightly." 

2nd. Just in his deed : " He works righteousness." 

3rd True in his word : " He speaks the truth in his 

] st. " He walketh uprightly." a s nn -j'jin holech tam- 
mim, "He who is walking perfectly." He who sets 

e 3 


God before his eyes — does everything through a right 
motive, in reference to a proper end ; beginning, conti- 
nuing, and ending every work so as to have God's bless- 
ing in it, promote God's glory by it, and benefit both 
himself and his neighbour through it. He is not one 
who makes a selection of duties or precepts, which he 
finds no natural disposition or propensity to disobey; 
omitting those that cross his inclination, or would impair 
his worldly gains : on the contrary, he has respect to all 
God's commandments ; — should each have a cross in it, 
he takes up that cross. He knows that the whole forms 
one great system of perfection, and he aims at being 
perfect, as his Father who is in heaven is perfect. He 
never stands still: the text does not say that he has 
walked perfectly ; so did Lucifer in heaven ; so did 
Adam in paradise; but both afterwards rebelled, and 
walked sinfully. But this man is walking ; he has 
begun to walk, is walking, and purposes, by the grace 
of his God, to walk on to the end ; nor cease to walk 
perfectly until he ceases to live. He takes the word of 
God for the rule of his conduct, and his Spirit for the 
director of his heart. He feels himself a stranger and 
a sojourner here below, and is constantly walking on 
towards the kingdom of heaven. He acts not only ac- 
cording to the letter, but also according to the spirit of 
God's law. He knows, he feels that the law is holy, 
and the commandment is holy, just, and good. He 
walks according to the perfections of God's law, and 
feels the weight and importance of all its injunctions. 
In a word, he has simplicity in his intentions, and purity 
in his affections. He no more seeks any by-ends than 
he walks in any bad way. 

2nd. " He worketh righteousness." 

He is not satisfied with a contemplative life ; he has 
duties to perform. The law of righteousness has placed 


him in certain relations, and each of these relations has 
its particular duties. The word ttc tsedek here signifies 
to give just weight, to render to all their due. 1. As 
he is a creature of God, he has duties to perform to his 
Maker. He owes to him reverence and obedience — his 
heart is the property of his Creator; he distinguishes 
the voice that says, " My son, give me thy heart ;" and 
this he knows lays him under the obligation to love God 
with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to serve 
him through that love. This is giving God his due. 
This is beginning with the right principle, that he may 
go straight to the right end. 

2. As a member of civil society, he has various duties 
to perform to his fellows, as they have to him. He is 
to love his neighbour as himself. He is to direct him, 
instruct him, defend him, and support him* when he 
finds him out of the way, ignorant of his interest, as- 
sailed by overwhelming forces, or destitute of the neces- 
saries of life. This, all human beings owe to each other. 
And having fulfilled these duties to his neighbour, as 
necessity may require, he has rendered to him his due. 

3. There are duties which he owes to himself. 

That his body may be in health, vigour, and activity, 
he must avoid everything by which it might be injured, 
particularly all excesses in eating, drinking, sleeping, 
and the opposite to immoderate sleeping, sitting up very 
late, and rising very early, in order to indulge in some 
favourite study ; this is ' " lighting the candle at both 
ends," and in this way the taper of life must soon burn 

That his soul may be saved, he must avoid all sin ; all 
irregular and disorderly passions. It is a duty he owes 
to his soul to apply to God for that grace which produces 
repentance, faith, and holiness ; and in order to get these 
blessings, he should read, watch, pray, hear the word of 


God preached, and diligently use all the ordinances of 
God. He who acts not thus defrauds his own body and 
soul. But the person described in the text works right- 
eousness — gives to all their due, and thus keeps a con- 
science void of offence towards God and towards man. 
He works — labours to fulfil all the duties he owes to his 
Creator and to his fellows ; nor in any of these does he 
do the work either deceitfully or carelessly ; he labours 
so as to bring purpose and energy to bear on every work 
he undertakes. 

3rd. " He speaketh the truth in his heart." 
We have already seen that the person who is a proper 
member of the church militant, and is living in a grow- 
ing meetness for the church triumphant, is upright in 
thought, and just in deed ; and here it is asserted that 
he is true in word : and to be right in the sight of God, 
in thought, word, and deed, affords the highest proof of 
a soul completely regenerated. He who is so is a perfect 
man. He is, under this particular, represented as a true 
man ; in him there is no false way ; he does not speak 
one thing, while he means another ; he professes nothing 
but what he feels and intends. With him there are no 
hollow friendships, vain compliments, nor empty profes- 
sions of esteem, love, regard, or friendship. His mouth 
speaks nothing but what his heart dictates. His heart, 
his tongue, and his hand are all in unison. Hypocrisy, 
guile, and deceit have no place in his soul. To " speak 
the truth in the heart" is a rare Qualification, perhaps the 
rarest in the whole assemblage of Christian graces. 
How seldom do we give a thing its right name ! How 
often do we profess what we do not feel ! In our trans- 
actions with men, how seldom do our hearts speak what 
our lips utter! To induce persons to buy, do we not 
speak falsely of the quality of the article presented for 
sale ; assert that it cost so much, when our consciences 


know that such a saying has ten or twenty per cent, of 
a lie in it? And when buying, do we not underrate 
and vilify the article, that we may get it the cheaper ? 
The wise man mentions such a character : " It is naught, 
it is naught, saith the buyer ; hut when he is gone his 
way, he boasteth," Prov. xx. 14. Thus he lied with his 
tongue, when his heart spoke the truth. He overreached 
his neighbour, and afterwards boasted of his knavery. 
How common is this vice ! Should such a man be a 
member of the mystical body of Christ ? Was such a 
false spirit ever seen in heaven? There are various 
other ways in which a man does not speak the truth in 
his heart ; but the speeches are not so deeply criminal, 
because he does not intend to defraud his neighbour. 
In compliments, how much falsehood is spoken : e. g., 
" How do you, Sir ? — I am infinitely glad to see you." 
Now it is most probable, 1. That he feels no gladness 
on the occasion ; therefore he does not " speak the truth 
in his heart." 2. It is false, if even he feel glad, to say 
that he is infinitely so. There is another profession, 
often made in these compliments, which, from its very 
nature, must be void of truth : " I hope I have the plea- 
sure of seeing you in the enjoyment of the most excellent 
health." " Sir, it is an essential addition to my happi- 
ness to find that it is so." Now all these are falsities ; 
but they are not intended to deceive, — they are used ac- 
cording to custom, — they are either the effusions of a 
light and frivolous mind, or are spoken thoughtlessly. 
But will these considerations excuse them ? How does 
the God of truth hear them? What does his Spirit 
say ? " Behold, thou desirest truth in the inWard parts :" 
and does he not search the heart, and try the ways ? 
"Thou God seest me !" should be a subject of frequent 
meditation. Does not our Lord say Ave shall give an 
account of every idle word in the day of judgment ; how 


much more of every wicked, deceptive, and lying word ! 
In the transactions of life, how many are led, from the 
experience they have had of the falsity of those with 
whom they have done business, to doubt every man's 
veracity, and to suspect all ! And who can much blame 
them ? And yet the feeling is ruinous ; it divests them 
of charity, and strikes at the very foundation of brotherly 
love. Indeed, it goes far towards a dissolution of the 
necessary bonds of society, for public confidence is diffi- 
cult to be supported where such a disposition prevails. 
But still there are overreaching and lying persons to be 
found; and we may deplore that state of society, where 
there is so much need for caution and watchfulness. 
This made the very pious Mr. Herbert exclaim, 

Surely if each man saw another's heart 
There would be no commerce ; 
All would disperse 
And live apart. 

But there is a love that " thinketh no evil ;" and the 
person in the text is he who is in possession of it, for 
" he speaketh the truth in his heart ;" and, we may add, 

" Believes no evil, where no evil seems." 

4th. " He backbiteth not with his tongue." 
The original is very emphatic, -mb by bn xb lo raged al 
leshono, " He foots not upon (or with) his tongue." He 
is one who treats his neighbour with respect. He says 
nothing that might injure him in his character, person, 
or property. He forges no calumny. He is author of 
no slander. He insinuates nothing by which his neigh- 
bour may sustain any kind of damage. 

The tongue, because of its frequent employment in 
slanderous conversation, is represented in the nervous 
original as kicking about the character of an absent 


person ; a very common vice, and as. destructive as it is 
common ; but the man who expects to see God abhors 
it, and backbites not with his tongue. 

The words backbite and backbiter come from the An- 
glo-Saxon, bac or bseCj the back, and bitan, to bite ; the 
meaning of which has not altered to the present time. 
But how it came to be used in the sense it is now, in 
our language, seems at first view unaccountable ; but it 
is a metaphor taken from the conduct of a dangerous 
dog ; and it is intended to convey the treble sense of 
knavishness, cowardice, and brutality. He is a knave 
Avho would rob you of your good name ; he is a coward 
that would say of you in your absence, what he dared 
not to do in your presence ; and an ill-conditioned dog 
only would fly at and bite your back, when your face 
was turned from him. All these three ideas are included 
in the term, and all meet in the detractor and calum- 
niator. His tongue is that of a knave, a coward, and a 
dog. The rabbins term the backbiter the man with the 
three-forked tongue : with it he wounds three persons 
at the same time — the man whom he slanders, the man 
who receives the slander, and himself who is the slan- 

Of such a person the Roman poet has this celebrated 
saying : — 

Absentem qui rodit amicum ; 
Qui non defendit, alio culpante : solutos 
Qui captat risus hominum, famamque dicacis : 
Fingere qui non visa potest : commissa tacere 
Qui nequit ; hie niger est : hunc tu, Romane, caveto. 

Hor. Sat. lib. i., sat. 4 ver. 81. 

He who malignant tears an absent friend, 
Or, when attacked by others, don't defend, 
Who trivial bursts of laughter tries to raise, 
And courts of prating petulance the praise ; 


Of things he never saw, who tells his tale, 
&nd friendship's secrets knows not to conceal ; 
This man is vile ; here, Roman, fix your mark, — 
His soul is black, as his complexion's dark. 


The character in the text is wholly different from that 
censured above, and from all others of a similar nature. 
He who acts otherwise has no right to the privileges of 
the church militant, and none of his disposition can ever 
see God. 

5thly. " He doeth no evil to his neighbour." 

He not only avoids all evil speaking against his neigh- 
bour, but he avoids also all evil acting towards him. He 
speaks no evil of him, and does no evil to him. He does 
him no harm ; he occasions him no wrong. On the 
contrary, he gives him his due. See under the second 
particular, where this subject is largely considered. 

6thly. " He taketh not up a reproach against his neigh- 

The word nsnn cherophah, which we translate a re- 
proach, comes from the root tpn charaph, to strip, to 
make bare, to deprive one of his garments; hence ty-in cha- 
reph, the winter, because it strips the fields of their 
clothing, and the trees of their foliage ; and by this pro- 
cess nature appears to be dishonoured and disgraced. 
The application to the subject in the text is easy. A 
man, for instance, of a good character, is reported to 
have done something evil ; the tale is spread, and the 
slanderers, whisperers, and backbiters carry it about; 
and thus the man is stripped of his fair character — of 
his clothing of righteousness, truth, and honesty. And 
yet the whole report may be false ; or the person, in an 
hour of the power of darkness, may have been tempted 
and overcome — may have been wounded in the cloudy 
and dark day ; and now deeply mourns his fall before 


God. Who, that has not the heart of the demon, would 
not strive rather to cover, than to make bare the fault 
in such circumstances? Those who, as the proverb 
says, " feed like the flies, passing over all a man s whole 
parts to light upon his sores," will take up the tale, and 
cany it about. Such, in the course of their diabolical 
work, carry the story of scandal, among others, to the 
righteous man, to him who loves his God and his neigh- 
bour; — but what reception has the tale-bearer? The 
good man taketh it not up, nuo nb lo nasa, he will not bear 
it, it shall not be propagated by or from him. He cannot 
prevent the detractor from laying it down, but it is in 
his power not to take it up; and thus the progress of 
the slander may be arrested. " He taketh not up a 
.reproach against his neighbour ; and by this means, the 
tale-bearer may be discouraged from bearing it to another 
door. If there were no takers up of defamation, there 
would be fewer detractors in the land. If there were 
no receivers of stolen goods, there would be no thieves ; 
and hence another proverb, founded on the justest prin- 
ciple, "The receiver is as bad as the thief." And is 
not the whisperer, the backbiter, and the tale-bearer, 
the worst of thieves ? Robbing not only individuals, but 
whole families of their reputation ; scattering firebrands, 
arrows, and death ? Yes, they are the worst of felons. 
Hear the poet, who was well acquainted with the human 
heart : — 

Good name in man or woman, dear my lord, 

Is the immediate jewel of their souls : 

Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing ; 

'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands 

But he that filches from me my good name, 

Robs me of that which not enriches him, 

And makes me poor indeed. 

Oh, how many a fair fame has been tarnished by this 


most Satanic practice ! But bad as the accidental re- 
tailer of calumny is, he who makes it his business to go 
about to collect stories of scandal, and who endeavours 
to have vouchers for his calumnies, is yet worse ; whether 
the stories be true or false — whether they make the sim- 
ple relation, or exaggerate the fact — whether they present 
a simple lens, through which to view the character they 
exhibit, or an anamorphosis, by which every feature is 
distorted, so that, in a monstrosity of appearance, every 
trait of similitude of goodness is lost ; and then the re- 
porter himself takes advantage of his own inferences : 
" O Sir, how bad this is ! but — but there is worse be- 
hind." This insinuation is like a drag-net, gathering as it 
goes, and bringing everything into its vortex ; the good 
and the bad are found in one indiscriminate assem- 

Suppose the stories to be true, or founded in truth, 
what benefit does society or the church ever derive from 
this underhand detailing ? None. There are but few 
cases ever occurring, where the misunderstanding be- 
tween the members of the church of Christ should be 
brought before two witnesses, much less before the church ; 
but there are some such, and our Lord orders us to treat 
these with the greatest caution and forbearance. On 
this point, see a sermon of the late Rev. J. Wesley, en- 
titled, " The Cure of Evil Speaking." 

Let us now hear what the sacred writings say of the 
flagitious characters already reviewed, and the various 
words by which they express them. 

1. Evil speaking. This is termed fiXa^/xia, blas- 
phemy — injurious speaking, either against God or man. 
Our Lord gives it the following associates, Matt. xv. 19 : 
" Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adul- 
teries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." 

2. Whisperers. The private communicators of scan- 


dais and calumnies. See Prov. xvi. 28 : "A froward 
man showeth strife; and a whisperer separates chief 
friends." Prov. xxvi. 20 : " Where no wood is, the fire 
goeth out ; so where there is no tale-bearer (or whis- 
perer), the strife ceaseth." The original word is pij nar- 
gan ; of this word an able Hebraist gives the following 
definition : " p-13 nargan, from pi ragan, to be rancid, 
rank, or rusty, as bad butter or bacon." Hence it is 
applied to a mind rankled or exulcerated with discontent, 
envy, or malevolence, and which uttereth itself in words 
suitable to such bad dispositions." See Taylor and 
Schultens on Prov. xviii. 8. 

The whisperer is called ipiOvpivrriQ in Greek, Rom. i. 
30, where he is coupled with backbiters, haters of God, 
despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, &c. ; 
see also ver. 31. 

3. Tale-bearer. One who had been taken into confi- 
dence, and told privately the secrets of his friend ; and 
makes it his business to carry it from place to place, 
and from person to person, as a pedlar his wares ; Prov. 
xx. 19 : " He that goeth about as a tale-bearer, revealeth 
secrets." " b-ai nbin holec racil, a slanderer — a defamer ; 
who picketh up stories, true or false, and details them 
out to the disadvantage of others." — Heb. and Eng. 

4. Backbiters. — See on ver. 3, and Rom. i. 30, 31, 
where they are associated with the flagitious characters 
mentioned under tale-bearer. The backbiter is called 
in Greek KaraXaXog, " a speaker of evil against another, 
a detractor." 

5. Slanderers. ITim. ii. 11. AiafioXoi, devils, from dta 
fiaXXtiv, to shoot through, with such fiery darts as the devil 
uses, and which the shield of faith only can quench. 
See Eph. vi. 16. 

6. All these deal in scandal, aicavdaXa, stumbling-blocks, 


offences* whatever hinders or injures another in his 
Christian walk, or brings any reproach on the cause of 
Christ. These are the things which he will gather out 
of his kingdom, and them that do iniquity, and will cast 
them into the furnace of fire. See Matt. xiii. 40, 41. 

All the above, with the whole family of defamers, false 
accusers, calumniators, detractors, destroyers of the good 
reputation of others, traducers, and libellers, however they 
may rank here, shall have one lot in the eternal world ; 
none of them shall become residents on the hill of God's 
holiness, and should not here be permitted to sojourn in 
his tabernacle, or militant church. Reader, pray God to 
save thee from the spirit and conduct of these bad men ; 
have no communion with them, drive them from thy door, 
yet labour to convert them if thou canst ; but if they will 
still continue as disturbers of the peace of society, of the 
harmony of families, and of the union of Christ's church, 
let them be to thee as heathen men and publicans ; the 
basest, the lowermost, the most dejected, most under- 
foot, and down-trodden vassals of perdition." 

7thly. " In whose eyes a vile person is contemned." 

This person follows the rule given by our Lord, " By 
their fruits ye shall know them ;" he tries no man's heart, 
for he knows men only by the fruits they bear, and thus 
he gains knowledge of the principle from which these 
fruits proceed. As to the vile person, dnbd nimas, men- 
tioned here, his name points him out, " a reprobate, one 
abandoned to sin," and justly, nraa nibzeh. he is abhorred ; 
is loathsome, as if covered with the elephantiasis, or 
leprosy, as the word implies. 

He may be rich, he may be learned, he may be a 
great man and honourable with his master, in high offices 
in the state ; but if he be a spiritual leper, an infidel, a 
profligate, the righteous man must despise him ; and hold 
him, because he is an enemy to God and man, in sove- 


reign contempt. If he be in power, he will not treat him 
as worthy of the dignity with which he is invested — but 
he will respect the office; and while he respects the 
office, and obeys the law, will despise the man. And 
this is quite right ; for the popular odium should ever be 
pointed against vice, lest vice should be accredited by 
rank and fashion. 

Rab. Aben Ezra gives a curious turn to this clause, 
which he translates thus : " He is mean and contemptible 
in his own eyes :" and it is certain that the original, rms 
rxo: vj s jD nibzeh beeinaiv nimas^ may bear this translation. 
His paraphrase on it is beautiful : " A pious man, what- 
soever good he may have done, and however concordant 
to the divine law he may have walked, considers all this 
of no worth, compared with what was his duty to do for 
the glory of his Creator." A sentiment very like that of 
our Lord, Luke xvii. 10 : " So likewise ye, when ye shall 
have done all these things which are commanded you, 
say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that 
which was our duty to do." 

Taken in this sense, the words intimate that the man 
who is truly pious, who is a proper member of the 
church militant, and is going straight to the church 
triumphant, is truly humble ; he knows he has nothing 
but what he has received ; he has no merit ; he trusts 
not in himself, but in the living God. He renounces his 
own righteousness, and trusts in the eternal mercy of 
God, through the infinitely meritorious atonement made 
by Jesus Christ. The language of his heart is — 

" I loathe myself, when God I see, 

And into nothing fall : 
Content that thou exalted be, 

And Christ be all in all." 

8thly. " He honoureth them that fear the Lord." 
This clause is a proof, however excellent Aben Ezra's 


sentiment may be, that he has mistaken the meaning of 
the preceding clause. The truly pious man, while he 
has in contempt the honourable and right honourable 
profligate infidel, yet " honours them that fear the Lord," 
though found in the most abject poverty ; though like 
Job on the dunghill, or like Lazarus covered with sores, 
at the rich man's gate. Character is the grand object of 
his attention; person and circumstances are of minor 

The fear of the Lord is often taken for the whole of 
religion ; and sometimes for the reverence which a holy 
man feels for the majesty and holiness of God, that in- 
duces him to hate and depart from evil. Here, it may 
signify the lowest degree of religion, that " repentance 
whereby we forsake sin ;" for " the fear of God is the 
beginning of wisdom ; and to depart from evil, that is 
understanding." He who fears God, and trembles at his 
word, is so far a genuine penitent. 

9thly. " He sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth 

This holy man adheres inflexibly to truth ; and at all 
risks maintains his integrity. He is not only true and 
just in all his dealings in the common transactions of 
life, but often acts to his own injury rather than not fulfil 
his engagements to others. If at any time he have solemnly 
bound himself to do so and so, and afterwards find that 
to keep his engagement will be greatly to his damage, 
though he and others may clearly perceive that the obli- 
gation was made in error, and reason would, in such a 
case, release him from the performance, yet such rever- 
ence has he for God and for truth, that he will not 
change, be the consequences what they may. 

He is also as steady to his promises as to his oath ; 
and his bare word, once passed, will bind him as solemnly 
as any oath. Indeed, the thoroughly honest man needs 


no oath to bind him — his character swears for him ; we 
have need only of a little reflection to convince us, that 
he who will not be honest without an oath, will not be 
honest with one. 

In illustration of the doctrine in this clause, I will in- 
troduce one fact which I had many years ago, from high 

His late Majesty, George the Third, was very fond of 
children : often in his walks both about Windsor and St. 
James's Park, he would stop when he saw an interesting 
child, and speak kindly and affectionately to it, give it 
some little toy or sweetmeat, and often a piece of money. 
One day, observing a little lad about four years old, 
who seemed to have strayed away from its fellows, he 
addressed it, and finding it intelligent for its age, he took 
it by the hand, and led it towards the palace, the child 
nothing loath. He brought the little fellow into the 
queen's apartment, and presented it to her, with " Here, 
queen, here is a very nice little boy, that I have picked 
up in my walk ;" and then, addressing the lad, "That's the 
queen, my dear, bow to her." A chair was immediately 
brought, the little fellow was seated on it, and in a trice 
some sweetmeats and fruit were laid before him. Little 
master felt himself quite at home, ate freely, and endea- 
voured to answer every question that was put to him. 
And when he had well eaten, it was suggested that as the 
child might be missed, and cause anxiety in the family, 
it would be best to restore him to his play-ground. 
Before he was removed from his chair, the king took out 
a new guinea, and placed it before him, saying, "Here, my 
dear, is a pretty thing which I will give you." The child 
looked at it for some time, and then with his finger pushed 
it away on the table, saying, " I don't know it — I won't 
have it { and looked indifferently over the table. The 
king said, "Well, my dear, if you won't have this, what will 


you have # ? Come, tell me what you'll have, and I will 
give it to you." There were several papers of a very im- 
portant nature then lying on the table, which had lately 
been brought into the royal apartment : the child, look- 
ing earnestly at one, said, "I'll have that pretty picture," 
and put his hand towards it. The king looked confounded, 
and hesitated ; the queen for a time was equally surprised, 
but she first broke silence (the child having then his 
" pretty picture " in his hand; which was no other than a 
new bank note for a very large amount), and said, " He 
must have it ; your Majesty's word is passed; your royal 
promise cannot be recalled." The king with great good 
humour assented, with " Yes, yes, he shall have it." A 
faithful domestic was called, the child delivered to him, 
with the injunction, to take him back to the park, find 
out his playmates or nurse, and follow their directions, 
till he should find the dwelling and parents of the child 
— nothing of either being known to his Majesty or his 
domestics. The servant was successful, delivered the 
child and his pretty picture to the astonished father and 
mother, returned, and gave such an account to the royal 
pair, as satisfied them that, while his Majesty had " sworn 
to his own hurt," and would not change, a wise Provi- 
dence had directed the whole transaction. The story was 
well known in the royal family, but there is reason to 
think the family of the child was never mentioned ; for 
I could learn no more of this singular history, than the 
facts, the substance of which is before the reader. I well 
know that George the Third feared God, and held his 
own word sacred ; nothing could induce him to change 
his purpose when he believed he was right. 

The Chaldee paraphrast has given a different render- 
ing of this clause : " He sweareth to afflict himself, and 
doth not change :" i. e., he hath promised to the Lord, 
to keep his body under, and bring it into subjection ; to 


deny himself, that he may not pamper the flesh, that it 
may not lead him into transgression ; and that he may, 
by saving all he can, have the more to give to the poor. 

The Syriac, Arabic, Ethiopic, Yulgate, Septuagint, 
and Anglo-Saxon, translate the clause thus : " He swear- 
eth to his neighbour, and doth not deceive him;" as 
they all seem to have read, ynnb le-hared, to his neigh- 
bour, instead of v"\nb le-hard, to his damage, or hurt ; 
the change in the meaning is made by the points, for the 
consonants are the same in both the words : but the 
reading in the text is followed by the most judicious 

From the whole we learn, that this candidate for hea- 
ven is a man of unimpeachable truth and inflexible in- 
tegrity, who would rather suffer evil than inflict it ; and 
will keep his promise, at the risk of his substance and 
his life. 

lOthly, " He putteth not out his money to usury." 

Usury signifies a certain part of the produce of a sum 
lent for the purpose of traffic; so that a man trading 
with the capital of another, gave not only security for 
the principal, but so much per cent, for its use. This 
was as innocent as it was just. But when the lender, 
taking advantage of the circumstances of the borrower, 
required more for the use of the money than it was 
worth, usury then expressed exorbitant or unlawful in- 
terest, and in this sense it is now universally received. An 
usurer is one that lends out cash at such unlawful and 
exorbitant interest as he can twist out of the necessi- 
ties of a distressed applicant : of such a practice as this 
no man that fears God can be guilty. 

In all times, the Jews were remarkable for usury, and 
usurious contracts : and a Jew that is saved from this 
practice, and the love of money, from which it originates, 



is, charity may well hope, not far from the kingdom of 

The word teo neshech, which we translate usury, comes 
from the root nashach, " to bite as a serpent," and here 
must signify that biting or devouring usury, which ruins 
the person who has to pay it. " This increase of usury 
(see Leigh's note sub voce -jm) is called neshech, because 
it resembles the biting of a serpent : for, as this is so 
small at first as scarcely to be perceptible, but the venom 
soon spreads and diffuses itself till it reaches the vitals ; 
so the increase of usury, which at first is not perceived 
nor felt, at length grows so much as by degrees to devour 
another's substance." Our laws have wisely fixed the 
worth of lent cash at five per cent. ; he who takes more 
is a usurer, — one who takes unlawful interest ; and the 
same law has adjudged the usurer, on conviction, to for- 
feit treble the value of the money lent. And the Roman 
laws condemned the usurer to the forfeiture of four times 
the sum ; Cato de Re Rust., lib. i. Our Saxon ances- 
tors had a very bad opinion of usurers. Edward the 
Confessor commanded all usurers to leave the kingdom ; 
and if any were convicted of it, all their property was 
confiscated, and themselves banished from the realm : 
because, said the law, " Usury is the root of all evil." If 
a priest, then, were convicted of "being a usurer, his whole 
property was seized, and distributed to pious uses. The 
clause is thus translated in the Anglo-Saxon Psalter — 
j-e\>e peoh hip ne j~eah>e to sytr-un^e. "Who fee his 
(property), not giveth to greediness." My old Anglo- 
Scottish Psalter has the Latin text, Qui pecuniam suam 
non dedit ad usuram, which it renders, %z tljat gaf mml 
${9 catel til otter : now this intimates that the translator 
had either read pxudem, cattle, for pecuniam, money, or 
that cattle was the only money, or medium of exchange, 


current in his time and country ; and indeed it has long 
been customary, not only in Scotland, but also in the 
various hyperborean countries, for the peasantry to pay 
their rents, &c. in kind : so many cows, sheep, &c, given 
to the laird, thane, or earl for the usufruct of the ground. 
That there is no mistake in the translation, is evident 
enough from the paraphrase, where the author repeats 
the words with his gloss upon them : %z tfjat gaf nout fjis 
catel til ofter, iotrglg, als cobagtus men tros gastlg : tfjat f)e 
sefte nagljt for fjis gutre trefce, na tnefce of ti)ts toereltr, tot 
ottelg of fjeoett. — i. e., " He who does not use his property 
in a secular sense, as covetous men do in a spiritual 
sense ; expecting no reward for his good actions in this 
world, but only in the kingdom of God." 

The very unusual word oker, in the Anglo-Saxon oken 
and pokeri, in the Gothic pokjv, in German toucher, and 
in Danish aager, means produce, fruits, offspring ; usu- 
fruct, whether of cattle, land, money, or even of the 
human progeny. And the word catel may be used here 
for chattels^ substance of any kind, moveable or immove- 
able ; but the word itself appears to be derived from 
cattle^ which were from the beginning, the principal sub- 
stance or riches of the inhabitants of the country, and 
tillers of the field. And it is well known that the word 
pecunia, money, was derived from pecus, cattle ; which 
were no longer used as a medium of commerce, when 
silver and gold came into use. 

There is a passage in the Ploughman's Tale in Chaucer, 
where, speaking of the worldly and worthless priests of 
his day, he uses the term, cattel-catching^ for getting 
money or goods. 

Some on her churches dwelle 
Apparailled poorley, proude of porte ; 
The seven sacramentes thei doen sell j 
In cattel-catching is her comfort. 



Of eche matter thei wollen mell, 
And doen hem wrong is her disport ; 
To affray the people, thei heen fell 
And hold hem lower than doeth the Lorde. 

The whole of this tale shows the wretched, ignorant, 
and oppressed state of the people of England, under the 
domination of the popish clergy, in the fifteenth century. 
They hare been emancipated by the Reformation ; and 
they will richly deserve the same thraldom, should they 
ever permit themselves to be entangled again under the 
same yoke of bondage. 

llthly, " He taketh no reward against the innocent." 
Assassinations were frequent in Asiatic countries ; 
and a despot had only to say to one of his dependants 
or slaves, " Go and bring the head of such a one," and 
the head was immediately brought ! ^ In other cases, 
one despot was hired to destroy another, either by the 
poniard of the assassin, or by poison. Of these acts I could 
produce many authentic instances. And from this psalm, 
it does appear, that private assassinations were frequent 
in the time of the Psalmist. But the person who is here 
stated to Jbe fit to sojourn in God's tabernacle, and 
finally to reside in the mountain of his holiness, is one 
who takes no reward against the innocent. He neither 
gives nor receives a bribe, to prevent justice, or injure 
an innocent man in his cause. The lawyer, who sees a 
poor man opposed by a rich man, and, though he is con- 
vinced in his conscience that the poor man has justice 
and right on his side, yet takes the larger fee from the 
rich man, to plead against the poor man, does, in fact, 
take a reward against the innocent ; and without the 
most signal interposition of the mercy of God, is as sure 
of perdition as if he were already in it. But, because 
such unprincipled lawyers have been found, it is most 
uncandid and wicked to apply the censure generally; 


though they have much in their power, and may deceive 
without detection, for law admits of many quibbles, and 
is, in many cases, the pit of the bottomless deep ; yet men 
of the highest honour and honesty are found in as great 
proportion among them as among others. Let those of 
a contrary character hear their blame, and either reform, 
or prepare to meet the God of justice. 

Lastly, " He that doeth these things :" He, in whose 
character and conduct all these excellencies meet, though 
still much more is necessary under the Christian dispen- 
sation, — shall never be moved; he shall stand fast for 
ever : — he is an upright honest man, fearing God, loving 
his fellows, and hating covetousness : God will ever be 
his support : he shall dwell in the holy hill, after having 
served his Maker here in his generation. 

Thus we have these two important questions an- 
swered, — Who can be considered a worthy member of 
the church militant upon earth ? Arid, Who, after life 
is ended, shall be received into heaven, and be for ever 
with the Lord ? The answer is, The man who, to faith 
in Christ Jesus, adds those eleven moral excellencies 
which have already been enumerated and explained; 
who has been " freely justified through the redemption 
that is in Jesus ;" and has had the thoughts of his 
heart cleansed by the inspiration of God's Holy Spirit ; 
he shall go to heaven — he shall be received into the 
paradise of God, and shall see him as he is. Amen. 

To conclude : I hope the reader will not say, " This is 
Jewish doctrine, and teaches salvation by works." I an- 
swer, It is God's doctrine, whether it came by Jew or 
Gentile. And as to salvation by works, there is nothing 
of it in the text, and nothing in the comment. But it 
may be answered, " There is here too much strictness — 
God does not require so much from poor, weak, fallible 


man," I ^nswer, God requires whatsoever his word re- 
quires. He will not bring down the moral law to our 
weakness and fall ; but he will bring us up to it. Jesus 
Christ came to raise us from our fall, to strengthen us 
with strength in our soul ; he has made an atonement 
for our sins, and it is through his merits alone that we 
either get heaven, or the grace that qualifies us for it. 
But still you think, you may get to heaven without all 
these excellencies. Let your conscience answer the fol- 
lowing questions. Will the man that is not upright — 
that does not work righteousness — that does not speak the 
truth in his heart, be saved ? Will the backbiter and slan- 
derer — he who does evil to his neighbour, and takes up a 
reproach against him, get to heaven ? Will he get there, in 
whose eyes the vile person is honourable, and he who fears 
the Lord, despicable ? Will he who breaks his word, and 
falsifies his oath ; that is an oppressive usurer — takes 
bribes against the innocent, or to betray and sell his 
country at a general election — will he get to heaven? 
If such persons can get to heaven, what honest man 
would wish to go thither ? And do you expect to go to 
heaven with ail your imperfections on your head ? Then 
you are most awfully deceived. But you say, " you have 
faith in Christ ;" well — see that it be sound, for the devils 
believe and tremble. Did Christ come to destroy the 
moral law ? Does the gospel require holiness of heart 
and life ? You know it does. And do you believe this 
word, " Without holiness no man shall see God ?" And 
what does this psalm require, but that holiness of heart 
and life which the gospel everywhere requires ? Is the 
law against the promises of God, or the gospel of God 
against a holy life ? Then you must receive the grace of 
the gospel, that the law of the Spirit of life may make 
you free from the law of sin and death, 


If you do these things, you shall never be moved ; 
you shall go from heaven below, to heaven above : but 
if you only believe them, and believe the gospel the same 
way, you shall be driven away in your iniquities, and go 
where you shall be eternally moved under the action of 
the worm that never dieth, and the fire that is never 
quenched. Go now to Christ, that he may purge your 
conscience from dead works, baptize you with the spirit 
of holiness, guide you by his counsel, and at last receive 
you into his glory. Amen. 



&c., &c, 

Dear Sir, 
I have not asked your permission to prefix your name 
to the following discourse. My reason is simple, and to 
myself cogent. I ask no patronage, howsoever respect- 
able yours might be to me; and I beg no favours. Gra- 
titude alone impels me ; and it is not in the nature of 
gratitude to ask permission to express its obligations. It 
may be manifested in various ways ; but without some 
kind of expression it cannot exist. By the present 
mode I take a liberty which, if I asked, you would not 
grant : it is, then, to tell my friends and the public, as 
far as this discourse may go, that you have from the 
beginning been the steady and practical friend of the 
Zetland Isles ; that you have helped me to assist them 
in the most effectual manner, while you peremptorily 
refused to let your left hand know what your right hand 
did. It is true, that while your shadow has been ex- 
tended over those northern regions, you have often been 
amply repaid by the good news which you heard from 
that distant land ; — of the prosperity of a work of life 
and power unequivocally manifested in the salvation of 
multitudes, and in the relief and comfort of many widows 
and orphans, and of many others equally necessitous 
and destitute. You have their prayers, my gratitude, 


and God's blessing. May the light of his countenance 
shine upon you and yours for ever ! Amen. 

There is something singular, if not in the discourse, 
yet in the circumstances in which it was preached. 

In the middle of last June, I sailed out of the Thames 
on purpose to make probably my last voyage to the 
Zetland Isles. Having arrived at Whitby, I was met 
by a few select friends, who wished to accompany me on 
my voyage : the Rev. James Everett, and Mr. W Read, 
of Manchester; Mr. John Mosely Smith, of Stock- 
port; Rev. James Loutit, of Windsor; Mr. John 
Campion, of Whitby, and my second son Theodoret, 
hired a vessel, the sloop Henry, Captain Greenwood, 
which we were to have at our command, to sail where 
and when we pleased, wind and weather permitting. 
As I intended to visit at least the different larger islands 
in the Zetland group, and the principal Voes or Bays, 
I well knew, from former experience, that this would be 
impossible, unless I had a vessel at my own command. 
In those islands there are no public roads ; and to travel 
over hills, through bogs, and to cross different Sounds 
and Voes in small crazy boats, would not only take up 
much time, but would be more harassing than it was at 
all likely my strength of body and state of health could 
sustain. We had an excellent passage, and our land-fall 
was Sumburgh Head, the south end of the Island of 
Mainland, to which we steered when we bore away from 
Whitby ; and so truly had we kept our course, that we 
could not say we had lost one foot of way, in a run of 
between 300 and 400 miles ! I will not trouble you with 
a detail of our operations while passing up the eastern 
side of those islands, in a direction due north. It is 
sufficient to say, we first touched at Lerwick ; then at the 
island of Whalsey ; Burra Voe, in South Yell ; Uya Isle 
and Uya Sound; and then Balta Sound, in the island of 



Unst, the most northern of this group. While we lay 
here, giving time to our captain to change his sand bal- 
last for chromate of iron, I travelled over the high hills, 
composed almost entirely of serpentine rock, with little 
vegetable soil, and consequently little verdure, and pass- 
ing Harold's-wick, where we left Mr. Everett to preach, 
I went on to Northwick, the farthest bay north on the 
eastern side of the Zetland Isles ; a little beyond which, 
on Sabbath morning, July 6, I preached to some hun- 
dreds of people, gathered from various places and consi- 
derable distances, the following discourse. 

The peculiar circumstances in the case I shall dis- 
tinctly note. 1st. I stood now on the most northern 
ground under the dominion of the British crown, and on 
the most northern inhabited part of that ground. And, 
2nd. On the line of direction in which I then stood, 
which was nearly due north, there was neither land nor 
inhabitant to the north pole. 3rd. In nearly a direct 
line east, I had Bergen in Norway on my right hand ; 
and farther on, north, Spitsbergen; on my left, west, 
were the Faroe Isles ; and onward, north-west, Iceland, 
and then Old Greenland. Between these, from Lamba 
Ness, the uttermost point north of the island of Unst, 
not one foot of land, nor consequently one human inha- 
bitant, is to be found on to the north pole ; so that I 
was literally preaching on one of the ends of the earth, 
beyond which, in that direction, the sound of the gospel 
can never be heard. 

As I had a plain people to address, I endeavoured to 
make use of the plainest terms, yet still without bringing 
down divine things below the standard of their own 
dignity ; and I believe the discourse was made a blessing 
to many that heard it. 

Of the inhabitants of this island I can say the same 
as of all the isles in Zetland ; they are a people with 


good understanding and good sense, and in kindness 
and hospitality to strangers without parallel. If, in out- 
ward circumstances and geographical situation they have 
generally but two talents — if any people on the globe, 
from the south to the north pole, have made ten out of 
the two, it is the Zetland ers : nor have I ever met a 
people who more richly deserve the truth of the gospel, 
nor a people who more carefully keep nor more correctly 
adorn it. 

I know you rejoice in their prosperity, and will bless 
God for their profiting. You have served them as the 
treasurer of that fund which is employed to build them 
places of worship ; and you have never suffered the work 
to stand still, even when the bank was for a time ex- 
hausted. May your shadow be extended for ever, and 
may the sun of your prosperity never withdraw its shin- 
ing ! For the sake of Zetland, as well as on many other 

I am, my dear Sir, 
Your much obliged, very grateful, 

and affectionate servant, 

Adam Clarke. 
Heydon Hall, Middlesex;, 
Aug. 23, 1828. 



A Discourse delivered in the Island of Unst, in Zetland, the far' 

thest Northern Possession of the British Crown, 

Sunday Morning, July 6th, 1828. 

Job xxii. 21—23. 

21. " Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace ', therebr 
good shall come unto thee. 

22. " Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up 
his words in thine heart. 

23. " If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, 
thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles," &c. 

More important advice than this was never given to 
man, nor can any be more necessary at all times, nor be 
urged with more powerful motives ; nor is it possible 
that the terms of the advice can be explained by clearer 

I. The Advice : " Acquaint now thyself with him." 

II. The Motives : " Thereby good shall come unto 
thee, and thou shalt be built up." 

III. The Directions : "1. Receive the law from his 
mouth. 2. Lay up his words in thy heart. 3. Put 
away iniquity from thy tabernacles," &c. 

The general meaning is this : " By getting an interest 
in the divine favour, and in having the soul brought into 


a state of peace with him, — thereby, that is, in these two 
things, good will come unto thee. First, From an in- 
terest in his favour, thou mayest expect all necessary 
blessings. Second, From his peace in thy conscience, 
thou wilt feel unutterable happiness. But we must 
enter more particularly into a discussion of the important 
subjects contained in these verses, and examine the 
foundation and principles on which they rest. They 
require the deepest attention of the head, and the 
strongest affections of the heart. 

Here we have to do with God and man ; the perfec- 
tions of the one, the imperfections and necessities of the 
other. Let us consider both. 

I. With whom are we exhorted to acquaint ourselves ? 
With God. Who is he ? This is the most difficult of 
all subjects, the most sublime of all knowledge; but 
supposed to be, in a certain way, level to the apprehen- 
sions of men. 

1. The apostle, speaking to the Corinthians, says, 
" Awake to righteousness, and sin not ; for some have 
not the knowledge of God : I speak this to your shame." 

It appears, therefore, that they might have acquired 
knowledge, or their ignorance could not have been their 
reproach. There were many advantages which the hea- 
then Greeks possessed ; and by them, through his works, 
the eternal power and Godhead of the Creator might be 

2. It is easy to speak about or of God ; but to show 
what he is, how difficult ! We can trace up every being 
to others of its own kind ; there is a concatenation of 
causes and effects. We can trace an acorn to an oak, 
and that to another acorn, till we come to the first plant. 
We can trace a child to its parents ; can conceive that 
these parents were once infants, whom we can trace to 
their parents, and so on, till we come to a first human 


pair ; but to what can we trace these ? They did not 
produce themselves. St. Luke, in displaying a gene- 
alogy, begins at his own times, and goes from son to 
father, whom he finds to be the son of another father, 
and so on, till he comes to the last father in the ascend- 
ing line, who could not be the author of his own being, 
and therefore he properly says, Adam, who was the son 
of God. This Being, therefore, is the Father of the 
spirits of all flesh. ]. In reference to man, he is the 
cause of all human existence. 2. And when we examine 
all other beings, we shall find that he is equally the 
cause of their existence. 

3. But who is he ? If he be the cause of all being, 
he is necessarily before all being, and himself uncaused : 
this leads us at once into his eternity. 

4. In ratiocination, the human spirit can go to God, 
and when it reaches him, it is lost in eternity ; not the 
idea of eternity, for of this it can form no idea. Nor 
can conjecture or fancy form any idea of anything, when 
it arrives at God, but God himself, and certain attributes 
necessarily inherent in him. 

5. Here then we see God in his eternity, and no ex- 
cursion of fancy can go beyond this : and what is the 
doctrine derivable from this? Has any of those who 
have written and spoken on the being and attributes of 
God made any use of this grand fact? I think not. 
But has it not an obvious meaning, and is it not this : 
In God human spirits are designed eternally to rest ; — 
they cannot go beyond him ; they can aseend by reason- 
ing to him ; and this is their intended place — the end of 
their destination — their final abode. 

6. But does the idea of God, in his eternity, and the 
knowledge that he is the centre where intelligent spirits 
can rest, necessarily show that these spirits must find 
happiness there ? No, not simply. 


7- But as we find God to be the cause of all being, 
and find an infinity of being, endowed with various de- 
grees of various perfections, and know that nothing can 
give what it does not possess ; hence we learn that God 
must possess various perfections ; and as he himself is 
infinite and eternal, all his perfections must be such. 

1. He must be wise, and that wisdom infinite. 

2. He must be powerful, and that power unlimited. 

3. He must be good,, and that goodness unbounded. 

4. He must be happy, and that happiness infinitely 

Every intelligent nature must be happy in proportion 
to the degree of its purity and goodness. God being 
pure and good, he is infinitely so, and therefore infinitely 

5. Benevolence is a necessary quality of goodness, and 
a desire to communicate itself necessarily belongs to in- 
telligent goodness. 1. Hence God's creation of man and 
intelligent natures. He made them like himself, that 
they might derive endless happiness from himself. 2. 
Man, therefore, may be made a partaker of the divine 
nature. It is the will of God that it should be so ; but 
man must acquaint himself with God that it may be so. 

II. Let us look into man, and see his state. He is 
not at peace ; he has not good. 

1 . He has various powers and faculties, — mighty and 
extensive; but they are in disorder and ruin. As he 
has not peace, men are in a state of hostility among 
themselves. As he is sinful, he has no good. He is 
therefore unhappy. He is torn by inward factions — 
conflicting passions : judgment and conscience at vari- 
ance with passion and appetite. He suffers in himself 
what nations do "who are in a state of warfare. In the 
latter case all confidence is destroyed ; security of person 


and property uncertain ; the apprehension of evil takes 
the place of hope ; treasure is exhausted, and the best 
blood of the land drained out for its defence. Issue as 
the contest may, there must be long misery and national 

Man is often at war with his fellows ; and ever with 
and in himself, condemning himself in the thing that 
he alloweth. 

2. Yet he has what is called the hunger of the soul, 
an insatiable desire after peace and happiness. Good, 
substantial good, is the object of his desire ; he seeks it 
early and late ; he pursues it under various forms and 
various names ; but in order to get it he minds earthly 
things, animal pleasures, secular good, and worldly ho- 
nours ; these when attained do not gratify, not only, 

1. Because they are not of the nature of the soul; but, 

2. Because they are not eternal. 

In the pursuit of these, life generally is spent, and 
vanity and vexation of spirit are written upon the 

Is the Father of the spirits of all flesh unmindful of 
all this ? No — his eye affects his heart ; he sees it 
with concern, because he wills the happiness of his in- 
telligent offspring. And he shows this concern by this 
divine oracle, " Acquaint thyself now with God, and be 
at peace, and thereby good shall come unto thee." 

That there should be any occasion for such an exhor- 
tation as that contained in the first verse of the text, is 
a reproach to man ; that it should be given by the inspi- 
ration of the Almighty, proves the goodness of God. 

In order to understand these points clearly, I shall con- 
sider — - 

I. What is implied in acquaintance with God ? 

II. What are the means by which this acquaintance 
is to be acquired ? 


III. What are the benefits which result from this ac- 

I. "What is implied in an acquaintance with God ? 

The word acquaint signifies to gain knowledge of a 
person or thing, by association, familiar intercourse, con- 
versation, and exact examination. Acquaintance signi- 
fies the knowledge that is acquired by such means. We 
say that we are acquainted with such a thing, book, or 
country, because we have examined the thing, read the 
book, or travelled through the country. When applied 
to a person, it signifies : — 1. We have heard of him. 2. 
Have been in his company. 3. Have conversed with 
him. 4. Have not only interchanged compliments, but 
reposed confidence in him ; and thus, 5. Become familiar 
with him : and 6. This familiarity, supported by fre- 
quent intercourse, has been heightened into friendship. 
Hence acquaintance and friend have nearly the same 

An intimate acquaintance is one thoroughly known ; 
and a very particular acquaintance is one with whom 
we not only interchange all the terms descriptive of 
friendship, but also all those affections which constitute 
the spirit of friendship : therefore — 1. To hear of; 2. 
To associate with ; 3. To hold conversation with ; 4. To 
become familiar with; 5. To have confident communi- 
cation with ; and 6. To take and to be taken into friend- 
ship with a person, are all implied in being thoroughly 
or intimately acquainted with him. 

The word used here, which we translate acquaint, yso 
sakan, signifies to lay up, as a treasure ; to procure an 
interest in. We lay up the treasure, in which we have 
the whole property, right, and interest, that we may have 
recourse to it whenever we please, and by it supply all 
our necessities. This notion of the word agrees very well 
with the spirit of this exhortation : consider that God 



alone is the never-failing fountain of all good ; get an 
interest in him, secure his friendship and help ; and then 
no good will he wanting to you. This meaning of the 
place was perceived by Coverdale ; for in his Bible (the 
first ever published in the English language) he translates, 
" reconcile thyself to him ;" get an acquaintance with 
him, come into his presence, cease from thy enmity to 
him ; make supplication to thy Judge, implore forgiveness, 
pray to be received into his favour, and thereby good — all 
good essentially requisite to thy present and eternal wel- 
fare — shall come unto thee. 

Having now considered the meaning of the word, the 
import of the exhortation will be the more easily per- 

I have already stated, " that it is a reproach to man 
that such an exhortation should be necessary." That 
there should be any human beings, where a divine reve- 
lation has come, found destitute of the knowledge of 
God, or that are unacquainted with their Maker and Re- 
deemer, is a sore evil, and a high reproach indeed ; but 
it was so, even in a Christian church, in the time of St. 
Paul ; for he thus exhorts the people at Corinth, "Awake 
to righteousness, and sin not ; for some' have not the 
knowledge of God : I speak this to your shame," 1 Cor. 
xv. 35. 

Let us examine this point intimately. 

1. To be acquainted with God, we must — 1. Hear of 
him : and have we not all heard of him ? Are not his 
lines gone out through the world, and his words to the 
ends of the earth ? Even to you, has the word of his 
salvation been sent ; you, who live here on a line a very 
little to the east of the north pole, between which and 
you there is not one human inhabitant, nor one foot of 
known land : — you have heard of him ; you have long 
had his Bible ; your forefathers have heard the word at 

A DISCOURSE ON JOB XXII. 21 — 23. 133 

the lips of teachers sent by him, have been favoured with 
the means of grace, and have had such calls to acquaint 
yourselves with God, that the well-grounded hope of 
eternal glory might be ministered through those means 
according to these calls. Even these isles have waited 
for his salvation ; it has been long since sent, that in his 
arm you might trust. Have we ever duly considered 
what a mercy it is to have a Bible, to be able to read it, 
to hear it read, to have it explained ? What were your 
forefathers previously to their getting the Bible ? Were 
they not a nation of gross heathens, serving stocks and 
stones, rudely cut out in the forms of men and women ; 
of the sun and the moon ; of Thor, Woden, or Odin ; 
of Friga or Freya ; either imaginary beings, or ancient 
freebooters, pirates, cut-throats, and general profligates? 
and these were worshipped with abominable and cruel 
rites, uncleanness, and human sacrifices. The principles 
of their religion we know ; they are still extant in Scan- 
dinavian books. A very ancient book called the Edda, 
written in the Icelandic language, one of the most cor- 
rect and important MSS. of which is in my own pos- 
ession, gives these principles in detail ; describes at large 
the acts of those who were the objects of their religious 
adoration ; uncovers their hell (the place of the evil being 
called Loke) ; and opens the gate of their heaven (Asgard, 
the habitation of their gods), and Valhalla, the celestial 
dwellings of their heroes. And what is this latter? Ac- 
cording to the Edda, it is the Hall of Odin, where his 
followers are to spend their duration in quaffing ale out 
of the sculls of their enemies ; and those very sculls out 
of which they had formerly drunk the blood of their 
owners ! Is it not an infinite mercy, that you and your 
neighbours, the Norwegians, Danes, Icelanders, and 
Swedes, the remains of the Gothic and Scandinavian 
tribes, have been saved from this cruel and degrading 


superstition, by receiving the Bible instead of the Edda, 
by which Ihey and you have been taught the knowledge 
of the true God ? Your fathers worshipped in these 
mountains, over whose summits of serpentine rock I 
have this morning travelled, and to the north of which 
we now stand ; and imbibed instruction from their scalds, 
poets, and priests, in those inhuman and diabolic arts, 
by which they were taught to rob, plunder, butcher, and 
enslave their fellow-men ! Now, the peaceable words of 
the gospel of Jesus succeed to the ferocious strains of the 
Volu spa, and the dying song of Lodbrog ! Now, they 
and you have learnt that the Son of Man is come, not 
to destroy men's lives, but to save them. Ye have heard 
of Him who is the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long- 
suffering, and slow to wrath ; forgiving iniquity, trans- 
gression, and sin. Be ever thankful for that mercy that 
has turned you from so deep a darkness, to a light so 
truly marvellous.* 

* The Edda, referred to above, is a work in the Icelandic lan- 
guage, and contains the mythology and complete religious system 
of the ancient Scandinavians, the people who occupied the king- 
doms called Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and the islands depen- 
dant on those countries. Among those isles, the Zetland isles were 
numbered : from them they were peopled, and from them received 
the same religious system as that of their neighbours. Unst, being 
the nearest both to Iceland and Norway, was no doubt first peopled ; 
and the settlers brought their native paganism with them. 

There are two books called Edda — the first compiled by Sasmund 
Froda, an Icelander, who was born in 1056. This work consists 
of a number of ancient poems, on mythological subjects, the chief 
of which are: 1. The Volu spa, or the prophecies of the virgin 
Vola. 2. The Havamaal, or Divine Discourse ; and 3. The 
Runa Pattur Othins, or magical chapter of Odin, or the magical 
works which can be performed by the use of the Runic characters. 
Of these metrical pieces, there are thirty-six in all, in this poetical 

A DISCOURSE ON JOB XXII. 21 — 23. 135 

2. But in order to be acqitainted with God, we must 
know him by having communion with him : that man 
is not an acquaintance of ours, with whom we never 
kept company ; nor are we acquainted with that God, 
with whom we never had communion. And as we can- 
not be said to be acquainted with any person with whom 
we have never conversed, so we cannot be said to have 

The second Edda is all in prose, and is a collection of the my- 
thology, theology, and philosophy of the Scandinavians, made by 
the very learned Snorro Sturlesson, about A. D. 1215. This also 
is in Icelandic. An edition of this was printed at Copenhagen, in 
4to., 1665, by a Danish lawyer, Besenius, in the original Icelandic, 
with a Danish and Latin version, and copious notes. 

An edition of the rhythmical Edda, that of Sa?mund, was under- 
taken at Copenhagen, and the first vol. 4to., published in 1787, 
which was followed by a second volume in 1818 : a third is pro- 
mised. To the second volume, there is a copious and useful glossary. 

From these volumes, the whole system of the very ancient Scan- 
dinavian idolatry may be gathered. 

The following may give a general view : — 

1. Odin or Woden, their supreme God, is there termed, " The 
terrible and severe deity — the father of slaughter — who carries 
desolation and fire — the tumultuous and roaring deity — the giver of 
courage and victory — he who marks out who shall perish in battle 
— the shedder of the blood of man," &c. From him is the fourth 
day of our week denominated Wodensday or Wednesday. 

2. Friga or Freya ; she was his consort, called also Heortha, 
mother Earth. She was the goddess of love and debauchery — 
the northern Venus. She was also a warrior, and divided the souls 
of the slain with her husband, Odin. From her .we have Friday 
or Freya's day ; as on that she was peculiarly worshipped. As was 
Odin on Wednesday. 

3. Thor, the god of winds and tempests — thunder and lightning , 
he was the especial object of worship in Norway, Iceland, and 
consequently, in the Zetland isles. From him we have the name 
of our fifth day, Thor's day, or Thursday. 

4. Tir, the god who protects houses. His day of worship was 
called Tyrsday, or Tiisday, whence our Tuesday. 


any acquaintance with that God with whom we never 
held intercourse hy prayer. He that cometh unto God 
must know that he is, and that he is the rewarder of 
them who diligently seek him. By prayer, we approach 
the palace of the great King; and by faith we enter 

As to our first and second days, Sunday and Monday, they derived 
their names from the sun and moon, to whose worship ancient idol- 
aters had consecrated them. 

Asgard is their heaven, or court of their gods. 

Valhalla, their paradise, the seat of Odin and his heroes, where 
they are represented as going through their martial exercises, then 
cutting each other to pieces ; afterwards all the parts healing, they 
sit down to their feast, where they quaff heer out of the skulls 
of those whom they had slain in battle, and whose blood they had 
before drank out of the same skulls, when they had slain them. 

Niflheim, or Evil house, is their hell. 

Loke, the Devil, or principle of evil. 

Hela, — death. Of whom they give this description. Her pa- 
lace is anguish ; her table, famine ; her waiters, expectation and 
delay ; her threshold, precipice ; and her bed, leanness. 

All who die in battle go to Valhalla, Odin's palace, where they 
amuse themselves as stated above. 

The Scandinavians offered different kinds of sacrifices, but 
especially human ; and from these they drew auguries by the velo- 
city with which the blood flowed when they cut their throats, and 
from the appearance of the intestines, and especially the heart. It 
was a custom in Denmark to offer annually, in January, a sacrifice 
of 99 cocks, 99 dogs, 99 horses, and 99 men— besides other human 
sacrifices, offered on pressing occasions, public calamities, &c, in 
order to turn away the anger of their gods. Even in England, I 
fear, our ancestors partook much of the spirit and practice of the 
same horrible and barbarous superstition. It is no wonder that 
we say in our public service, when the gospel for the day is an- 
nounced to be read : " Thanks be to God for his holy gospel." 
what an ineffable blessing has the gospel been wherever it has been 
preached ! For more of those superstitions, see the Edda— Mallet's 
Northern Nations ; Bartholinus de Causis contempts Mortis, §c. 


into that palace. We present our petitions, which he 
graciously receives ; he speaks peace to his people, that 
they may not turn again to folly. Frequent intercourse 
with this most holy and gracious Being brings us to 
an acquaintance with his loving-kindness and tender 
mercy. They who pray not, know nothing of this God, 
and know nothing of the state of their own souls. 

3. In an acquaintance such as that which the text 
recommends, there must be confidence : Ave wquld not 
form an acquaintance with a person in whom we could not 
confide ; and if we found him to be a person of probity, 
our confidence would be in proportion to our acquaint- 
ance. It is impossible that we could enter at all into a 
consideration of the nature of God — of his goodness, 
mercy, and love, without feeling confidence that from 
that goodness all necessary good might be expected ; all 
pardon and grace from that mercy, and all tenderness 
and compassion from that love. His promises we should 
consider as perfectly safe : he is faithful, and cannot deny 
himself. His promises are pledges given to men, which 
his goodness, mercy, and love will redeem. Hence con- 
fidence in him produces faith : we see from his power 
that he can do all things ; and from his mercy, goodness, 
and truth, that he will do all that is necessary for those 
who put their trust in him. For all his promises are yea 
and amen, in our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus increasing 
confidence begets increasing faith, and this increasing 
faith is daily obtaining the fulfilment of his promises. 
He gives grace and glory, and no good thing will he 
withhold from them that trust in him, and walk up- 

4. This confidence will produce a holy familiarity : we 
shall seek for opportunities of increasing our acquaint- 
ance with one who is the Sovereign Good ; without whom 
nothing is wise, or holy, or strong ; and without whom, 


we can neither know what is right, nor do what is holy 
and just. And this very conviction will tend to increase 
the spirit and practice of prayer, and, consequently, our 
communion with God. 

5. Intimate acquaintance with a person, engendering 
mutual confidence, and begetting a pleasing familiarity, 
is very little short of what is termed friendship ; nor 
does there seem to be any difference between intimate 
acquaintance and special friendship. But however this 
may be, we well know that they who acquaint them- 
selves with God, as above specified, will find him to be 
their friend, their highest, chiefest, and best friend, — a 
friend that loveth at all times, — that knows the souls of 
his followers in adversity; that is untouched and unin- 
fluenced by any kind of caprices, and on the permanency 
of whose friendship we may depend, while in simplicity 
and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the 
grace of God we have our conversation in the world. 
Thus, while God is the friend of every true believer, of 
all who have got an acquaintance with him, every true 
believer is a friend of God. All these things are im- 
plied in being acquainted with him. My brethren, lay 
these things to heart, and see whether you have received 
this wise man's exhortation, " Acquaint now thyself with 

6. But that translation of the original word which 
appears in Coverdale's Bible, the first complete Bible ever 
printed in the English language, must not be overlooked, 
" Reconcile thyself to him." Man is in a state of enmity 
with God ; he is a sinner against his Maker, a rebel 
against his sovereign, he is attainted of high treason by 
God's law, and is condemned to death ; and that death 
he must suffer if he be not reconciled to the great law- 
giver. Now this reconciliation supposes that the man 
ceases from his rebellious acts, and that with a penitent 

A DISCOURSE ON JOB XXII. 21 — 23. 139 

soul he implores forgiveness from his offended Judge. 
We have already seen that thorough acquaintance will 
terminate in friendship ; a union of hearts and hands, 
where both parties seek each other's welfare and happi- 
ness. This state of friendship is impossible where the 
man is living in a way which proves his heart to be in a 
state of enmity to God. Can we suppose that a subject 
is reconciled, or in a state of friendship, with his king, 
who is breaking his laws daily, blaspheming his name, 
traducing his character, ridiculing and despising his go- 
vernment, teaching others to disobey the laws, making 
as many enemies to the constitution of his country as 
he can, and strengthening by all means in his power 
those who are already the enemies of the state ? Is not 
such a one the worst of felons ? Does he not deserve 
the most exemplary punishment? Should not every 
peaceable, honest, loyal man abhor him ? Should he not 
be considered the nation's disgrace, and the public pest ? 
And should he not be avoided as a dangerous leper, 
infecting every place where he sojourns, and every person 
with whom he comes into contact ? All this is readily 
granted by every person who loves his own safety, 
honours the king, and seeks the peace of society. 
What shall we then say of the open sinner, — of the 
" cheap swearer, who through his open sluice lets his 
soul run for nought ?" Of the liar, whose heart is not 
true to God, nor his tongue to it, nor his actions to either ? 
Of the drunkard, who consumes his body, his health, 
and his substance ; who in the frenzy of inebriation 
may kill his mother ; or in the sottishness of continued 
tippling may fall into a pit, and be dashed to pieces ; or 
fall under a cart wheel, and be crushed to death ? And 
what shall we say of the more secret sinner ? He 
that cheats and defrauds, who has the false or deficient 
measure, and the bag with deceitful weights? Of the 
vol ii G 


polished flatterer, who to promote his own interest 
invests* another with a character, the qualities of which 
he has never borne ? Or of the specious hypocrite, who, 
while he pretends to all saintship, is destitute of holiness, 
whose religion is only a cloak to cover the deformities of 
his character? Are not all these (and the catalogue 
might be vastly increased) enemies to God in their minds 
by evil propensities ; and in their lives by wicked works ? 
If these do not get reconciliation to their God, without 
doubt they shall perish everlastingly. To such I cry, 
Be reconciled to him, that ye perish not ! 

II. Seeing this acquaintance is of such importance, 
and this reconciliation is so absolutely necessary, and 
that man, naturally, is blind and sinful, it will be neces- 
sary next to inquire by what means these blessings are 
to be obtained. 

We are not left to our own judgment to devise an 
answer to this important question : He who gives the 
exhortation has laid down the proper directions; and 
they are the best parts of this speech delivered by Eli- 
phaz the Temanite. I shall take them in order. 

The first advice, in reference to this acquaintance and 
reconciliation, is, " Receive, I pray thee, the law from his 
mouth," ver. 22. 

What is the law that is here intended ? Those who 
contend that this book was written before the giving of 
the law, say that the law here mentioned is the seven 
precepts which Noah, after the flood, delivered to his 
sons, and they to their posterity. The precepts were in 
substance the following : 

1. Obey judges, magistrates, and princes. 

2. Avoid all idolatry, superstition, and sacrilege. 

3. Avoid all blasphemy, perjury, and irreverent use of 
God's name. 

4. Avoid all incest, and unnatural conjunctions. 


5. Avoid all murder, battery, infliction of wounds, 
mutilations, &c. 

6. Avoid all theft, fraud, and lying. 

7- Eat no blood, nor any portion of animals cut off 
while the animal is alive. This we find is a custom 
among the Abyssinians even to the present time. 

Others say, the lam of nature is intended. Those who 
maintain that the Book of Job was written before the 
Law of Moses, are driven to such miserable shifts as 
these to support their hypothesis. I hesitate not to say, 
that the law of God given to the Israelites by the min- 
istry of Moses, is that which is here intended ; and it is 
called here by way of emphasis mn torah, law ; the real 
system and source of instruction, which contains v-idk 
amraiv, his words, the words or sayings of God himself; 
consequently not the Noahic precepts, nor the law of 
nature, neither of which were ever written or registered 
as the words of God's mouth. As to the Noahic pre- 
cepts, they are a rabbinical fable ; and as to the law of 
nature, what is it, or what was known of it till God 
gave that law, which has been the source from which all 
just counsels and right precepts have flowed ? 

It is the law, or revelation from God, that must be 
studied and received, in order to know God, to get 
acquaintance with him in his holiness and purity ; and 
to know what is the desert of sin, and how a sinner is 
to be reconciled to his Maker. This is to be received as 
God's own words, as proceeding immediately from him- 
self, stamped with his authority, and that law by which 
every sinner shall be tried. That law not only shows 
the holiness of God, and the sinfulness of sin, but also 
the means of reconciliation. In it the whole sacrificial 
system is laid down ; and this pointed out the sufferings 
and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, as the true Sacrifice 
prefigured by the various sacrifices prescribed by the law. 

h 2 


"We see* in the immolation and death of the victims 
under the law what every sin deserves, viz., death ; and 
we see by the sacrifice of Christ that no sinner can 
expect reconciliation to God, and remission of sins, but 
through his offering, for God was in Christ reconciling 
the world unto himself. And we must receive the law 
that declares these things from his mouth ; not be con- 
tent with merely reading our Bibles, or with the general 
acknowledgment that this word is a revelation from God ; 
we must read and hear it as if God spake it now from 
his mouth to our ears. Thus we shall feel its authority, 
and tremble at his word. There - is a great difference 
between simply reading the Scripture, and receiving it as 
from the mouth of God. What man says to us may 
mislead us ; do not take the sayings of men for any 
thing that concerns the salvation of your souls : see what 
God has said; believe this alone implicitly. Do not 
deceive yourselves by the common saying, " God is 
merciful, and we shall fare as well as others." It is 
true that God is merciful ; but he shows mercy to them 
who truly turn to him ; he will not prostitute his mercy 
on them who run on in their evil ways ; and as to faring 
as well as others, if these others be like yourselves, living 
in sin, without acquainting themselves with God, you 
will, it is true, fare as well as they ; for the wicked shall 
be turned into hell, with all them that forget God. Nor 
will the multitude of the damned alleviate the punish- 
ment of any individual in the wretched mass. You need 
not perish, for God has devised means that your ban- 
ished soul may not be endlessly expelled from him. 

The second direction is, " Lay up his words in thy 
heart." The heart is often taken to express all the 
faculties of the soul, especially the conscience and un- 
derstanding. The spirit of this direction is, Take a 
serious view of what God has spoken; see that you 

A DISCOURSE ON JOB XXII. 21 — 23. 143 

understand it ; and if you understand it, endeavour to 
feel it; ask conscience whether you be the person of 
whom God speaks ? whether you have ever repented and 
turned from those iniquities which God reprehends? 
whether God for Christ's sake have forgiven them ? and 
whether he have given you the witness of his Spirit, 
that it is so ? David says, he hid the word of God in 
his heart, that he might not sin against him. Have you 
done so ? Having received the words of his mouth into 
your heart, do you retain them there ? If you have re- 
ceived the word of reproof and conviction ; if, by it, the 
Spirit of God have convinced you of sin, righteousness, and 
judgment, then you are prepared for the next direction. 
Thirdly, "Return to the Almighty." Our blessed 
Lord represents a sinner under the figure of a silly sheep 
which has strayed away from the flock, and from under 
the care of the shepherd, and has wandered into the 
wilderness, exposed to destruction, not only because it is 
gone from under the shepherd's eye, but on account of 
its exposure to destruction by means of ravenous beasts. 
And for such a stray sheep there is no safety but in 
being brought baek to the flock, and again placed under 
the shepherd's care. This direction therefore is of great 
moment; you must "return to the Almighty." Stop, 
sinnner ! whither art thou going ? Art thou not already 
on the precipice — on the verge of destruction ? A little 
farther, and the gulf is shot, and the horrible pit is 
closed upon thee for ever! After stopping and con- 
sidering, " return to the Almighty ;" his parental voice 
may still be heard ; has he not said, " Let the wicked 
man forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his 
thoughts ; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will 
have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will 
abundantly pardon." Remember who it is to whom 
you are to return ; it is to the Almighty, he who is able 


to save if you do return ; and he who is able to destroy 
if you do not. Satan, as a roaring lion, is going about, 
seeking whom he may devour. If you be a sinner 
against God and your own soul, you are fair prey for 
this devourer! "The lion hath roared," will you not 
fear ? " The Lord hath spoken," therefore his servants 
must prophesy. They must warn the wicked, that they 
may not have to answer for his blood at the judgment- 
seat of Christ. But in and through all this, hear the 
expostulating voice of your heavenly Father : " Why 
will ye die, O house of Israel?" "O Jerusalem, Jeru- 
salem, how often would I have gathered you together, as 
a hen doth her brood under her wings, but ye would 
not !" To refuse such invitations — to stop the ear against 
such entreaties — to harden the heart against such com- 
passionate calls — demand the most exemplary judgments. 
A remedy is provided, but they who sin against that 
only remedy must of necessity perish It is the Al- 
mighty that calls ; and none less than the Almighty can 
save ; and remember, that because he is the Almighty 
he is able to punish ; and that it is a fearful thing to fall 
into the hands of the living God. 

Fourthly, "Put away iniquity far from thy taber- 
nacles." You must not only put away your own sins, 
cease from your evil companions, allow yourself no in- 
dulgence in any secret sin ; but you must give heed that 
iniquity be not tolerated in your tabernacle, your house- 
hold or family. Teach your children, your servants, 
and all that are connected with you, the fear of the Lord. 
Let your house be a house of prayer, not a den of thieves ; 
let not the idle, the vain, the profligate, or profane, have 
a place in your domestic establishment. If such be your 
neighbours, hold no intimacy with them. See also that 
there be no ill-gotten property in your house. See that 
if you have defrauded any, you have made or will make 

A DISCOURSE ON JOB XXII. 21 — 23. 145 

immediate restitution. See that there be no trick or 
deception in the mode of managing your business, dis- 
posing of your wares, buying from the manufacturer, or 
selling to the consumer. Most people have not only 
easily besetting sins in their constitution, but also easily 
besetting sins in their trade and mode of conducting 
their business. All this must be put away, and as the 
text says, put far away. Let not your gain have God's 
curse in it for a canker, because it is not honestly ac- 
quired ; but see that you have his blessing in your basket 
and your store, because you have provided things honest 
in his sight, who searcheth the heart, and trieth the 

One great point yet remains ; and with this, Job's 
friend Eliphaz, who gives this exhortation and these 
directions, could be but slightly acquainted ; and that is, 
the return to the Almighty through the Mediator ; and 
the reconciliation to him through the sacrificial offering 
of him who was the Lamb slain from the foundation of 
the world. 

If we take the word pon hashen, which our translators 
render acquaint, and which Coverdale, our earlier trans- 
lator and martyr, rendered reconcile, it will open a rather 
different sense at first view, though it may lead ulti- 
mately to the same end. Strictly speaking, no man can 
reconcile himself to God, though he may be said to do 
so who uses God's appointed means of reconciliation in 
the way that he has himself appointed. We learn that 
4i God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself;" 
and the apostle gives us to understand that the whole 
gospel is a ministry of reconciliation. See 2 Cor. v. 18, 
19, 20: "All things are of God, who hath recon- 
ciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us 
the ministry of reconciliation ; to wit, that God was in 


Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing 
their trespasses unto them ; and hath committed unto us 
the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambas^ 
sadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by 
us ; we pray you, in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to 
God." A short paraphrase on the above words is all that 
can be necessary in reference to the translation of our 
text given by Coverdale. God is here said to have 
reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ. As he has 
given Christ to die for sinners, they have through him 
access to God ; for his sake and on his account God can 
receive them ; and it is only by the grace and spirit of 
Christ that the proud, fierce, and diabolic nature of man 
can be changed and reconciled to God; and by and 
through this sacrifice God can be propitious to them ; 
for the grace of Christ alone can remove the enmity of 
man. As the word reconciliatioji signifies in the original 
a thorough change, the grand object of the gospel is to 
make a thorough change in men s minds and manners ; 
but the first object is the removal of enmity from the 
heart of man, that he may be disposed to accept of the 
salvation which God has provided for him; for the 
enmity of the heart is the grand hinderance to man's 
salvation. Christ, by his offering upon the cross, made 
atonement for the sin of the world, and thus laid the 
foundation of reconciliation between God and man. 
The apostles, and all their genuine successors in the 
Christian ministry, have the word or doctrine of recon- 
ciliation. They state the doctrine, show the necessity 
of it, and entreat men to accept the mercy which God 
has provided for them. The whole of this gospel min- 
istration is simple, short, and plain, and may be thus 
summed up : 

1. You believe that there is a God. 

A DISCOURSE ON JOB XXII. 21 — 23. 147 

2. You know he made and preserves you. 

3 In consequence it is your duty to love and serve 


4. To show you how to do this, he has given a reve- 
lation of himself, which is contained in his law and gos- 
pel, which you are commanded to receive. 

5. You have broken this law, and incurred the penalty, 
which is death. 

6. Far from being able to undo your offences, or make 
reparation to the offended majesty of God, your hearts, 
through the deceitfulness of sin, are blinded, hardened, 
and filled with enmity against your Father and your 

7- To redeem you from this most wretched and ac- 
cursed state, God, in his endless mercy, has given his 
Son for you, who has assumed your nature, and died in 
your stead. 

8. In consequence of this, he has commanded, that 
repentance and remission of sins shall be preached to all 
mankind in his name. 

9. All who repent of their sins, and return to the 
Almighty, believing in Christ, as having died for them, 
as a sin-offering, shall receive remission of sins. 

10. And if they abide in him by that faith which 
worketh by love, they shall have an eternal inheritance 
among them that are sanctified. This is the sum and 
substance of the doctrine of reconciliation : and whether 
this were in the mind of Eliphaz when he gave Job the 
exhortation in the text, or not, it is essentially necessary 
in every exhortation to sinners, constructed on Christian 
principles. In order, then, to acquaint yourselves with 
God, to be reconciled to him, and to be saved unto eter- 
nal life, apply to him through the Son of his love, who 
died for your offences^ and rose again for your justifica- 

h 3 


III. I come now to consider the benefits which re- 
suit to man through this acquaintance with God. 

They are many and important, and may be seen here^ 
either in the text or context. 

Eliphaz first makes a general statement — " Thereby 
good shall come unto thee." The preceding words, " Be 
at peace," seem to be rather intended to point out the 
benefit of the acquaintance here recommended, than any 
part of the exhortation here used. In this way they 
were understood by translators, both ancient and modern ; 
and in this sense I shall take them. 

2. " Good shall come unto thee," — nna bahem, in 
them ; i. e., in acquaintance with God, and the peace or 
prosperity of soul which follows. Thou shalt have the 
supreme good. 1. The pardon of all thy sins. 2. The 
sanctification of thy nature. 3. The witness of the 
Holy Spirit in thy conscience that thou art born of 
God, and passed from death unto life. 4. A right 
to the tree of life, and, through the blood of the cove- 
nant, to the eternal inheritance. 

Peace, u"bw shalom, signifies, as used in the Bible, 
prosperity of all kinds : health of body, peace of mind, 
and prosperity in all lawful worldly affairs : all these are 
included in the word good — good shall come unto thee, 
good to thy body, good to thy soul, good to thy family, 
good in time, and good in eternity. To know God in 
the proper experimental sense of the word, is not only 
to be acquainted with the fountain of happiness, but to 
drink of the water of life. To be reconciled to God, is 
to have a title to eternal glory, and a right to the tree of 
life : to enjoy his favour is better than the present life, 
with every earthly blessing which can possibly be en- 
joyed. To have peace with God, and peace in the con- 
science, is to have an ineffable feast, with quietness and 
assurance for ever. To have communion with God, and 

A DISCOURSE ON JOB XXII. 21 — 23. 149 

his Spirit to witness with ours that we are his children, 
is to have life in its plenitude of satisfaction; and a 
glorious prospect of blessedness in that future state 
where neither natural nor moral evil can ever come. 
These are general declarations relative to the happy con- 
sequences of being acquainted with the true God, and 
knowing Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. 

But Eliphaz enters into a detail of blessings and ad- 
vantages which should be enjoyed by him who received 
his word of exhortation. 

1. " Thou shalt be built up" — not only the lapsed 
state of thy affairs shall be repaired, and thou shalt have 
every good that is essentially necessary for thee in this 
life, but thou shalt have God for thy continual protector. 

Though building up may in general signify an in- 
crease of property, and especially of children, which 
were considered the chief riches among the patriarchs, 
Israelites, and Asiatics in general, and a promise of this 
kind must be very acceptable ; yet fortifying and pro- 
tecting may be that which is here principally intended. 
In all parts of Arabia attacks on the houses and pro- 
perty of individuals were frequent ; and to prevent suf- 
fering in this way, every house was a sort of fortification ; 
a wall being built round the house, too high to be easily 
scaled, and a very low door in that wall, through which 
an Arab, who scarcely ever dismounts from his horse, 
could not pass. 

The monks of St. Catherine, who have a monastery 
on the top of Mount Sinai, dare not even have a door in 
their monastery ; they are literally built up, and every- 
thing that is received from below, comes in a basket let 
down from the top of the wall by means of a rope and 
pulley. Both persons and goods go and come in this 
way. To this kind of building up, Eliphaz seems to 
refer. And as this was considered a sufficient protection 


in a general way, so God's building up must be univer- 
sally safe and sufficient. His providence is the grand 
fortification ; it is not only a protection, but a source of 
support. The inhabitant shall dwell in safety; his 
bread shall not fail, and his water shall be sure. From 
such a tabernacle, the wicked — the practisers of iniquity, 
aggression, and wrong, shall be put far away. To such 
the promise by the prophet, who also alludes to depre- 
dations of this kind, shall be amply fulfilled : " In 
righteousness shalt thou be established : thou shalt be 
far from oppression, for thou shalt not fear ; and from 
terror, for it shall never come near thee." Isai. liv. 14. 

In such a country, and in such circumstances, what a 
support must such a promise be, when the words were 
known to be spoken by Him who cannot lie ! To the 
case of Job these things strongly apply. He lived in Uz, 
in Idumea ; and he himself, as well as all his friends, 
were Edomite Arabs. His oxen and asses had already 
been carried away by a marauding company of Sabseans, 
a people who dwelt in Arabia Deserta, on the east of 
Uz. The Chaldeans, who carried away his camels, were 
a banditti of the same kind. 

By promising such protection against such marauders, 
Eliphaz insinuates his general charge against Job, viz., 
that he must be a bad man, else he could not have been 
subjected to such losses and disasters. 

2. He promises him great secular prosperity. " Thou 
shalt lay up gold," &c. Godliness is profitable for all 
things. The man who in the days of his forgetfulness 
of and rebellion against God, spent much property in 
riotous living, on his conversion to God ceases from all 
those evils, and consequently saves that which he before 
spent and squandered away : again, the blessing of God 
rests upon him, and on the work of his hands ; thus he 
both gains and saves. I have known many who thus 


became rich. ; and while they continued to help the poor, 
and the work of God, they " laid up gold as dust, and 
fine gold as the stones of the brooks." And I have 
known several cases also, in which God brought back 
the captivity, when the good he had placed in their 
hands they put in their hearts, gaining all they could, 
and keeping all they got : in a word, they ceased to help 
God's poor, and God's cause, and then he withdrew the 
hand of his help from them, and left them the earth for 
their portion, or stripped them of that in which they 
trusted, that they might return to him from whom they 
had revolted. Thus God gave in mercy ; and in mercy 
he took away. 

3. He promises that the Almighty will be the defence 
both of him and his property : " Yea, the Almighty shall 
be thy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver," 
ver. 25. In the 23rd verse (see under number 1), he 
promises him personal protection — " Thou shalt be built 
up;" but here he promises the same protection for his 
goods and property : he shall increase his substance ; 
and God will not permit him to be deprived of it by 
disasters in trade, nor by the hand of fraud, deceit, or 
robbery. It is not to be wondered at, that, while a man 
makes a proper use of God's bounty, the Giver will take 
care to preserve his own gift. We lose because we do 
not properly credit God's promises, and we lose more 
because we do not plead them. 

4. He farther gives Job to understand that he shall 
not only have that content and comfort that arise from 
having all necessaries, conveniences, and comforts of life 
at his command, but he shall have the favour of God, 
and true happiness in the enjoyment of that favour : 
" Then thou shalt have thy delight in the Almighty"— ^- 
Thou shalt feel him to be thy portion ; for while thy 
body lives on his earthly bounty, thy soul shall be fed 


and nourished by that bread that comes down from hea- 
ven, and endures unto eternal life, ver. 26. 

5. He shows farther, that, in consequence of his ac- 
quainting himself with God, he shall have great confi- 
dence in him, and much communion with him : " Thou 
shalt lift up thy face unto God," ibid. This expresses 
great confidence ; and especially that which results from 
a sense of God's mercy in the forgiveness of sins. It is 
an old saying, " He who has got his pardon, may look 
his prince in the face." Guilt felt in the conscience 
produces confusion of face : how can he look up to God, 
who knows he has been a rebel against him, and has no 
evidence that his sin is forgiven, or that God has adopted 
him into his family ? But when he feels that God has 
forgiven him his sins, when he has taken fully the ex- 
hortation, Acquaint now thyself with him — be reconciled 
to thy offended God ; then, and not till then, can he lift 
up his face to God, see his Father and Friend in the 
person of his Judge ; then he has boldness towards God, 
and shall not be ashamed when he stands even before 
the judgment-seat. 

6. He promises him great success in all his approaches 
to his Maker : " Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, 
and he shall hear thee," ver. 27. The original is very 
emphatic, -inj/n taetvr, thou shalt open or unbosom thy- 
self — thou shalt find freedom of access to the throne of 
grace, thou shalt have the spirit of prayer ; for the spirit 
of prayer flows from the spirit of adoption ; and when the 
heart prays, God hears ; and it is encouraged to pray 
on, by the answers it receives. The text adds, " Thou 
shalt pay thy vows." He who enjoys the favour of God 
is full of good resolutions : and as these resolutions 
spring from God's grace, and are formed in his strength, 
so they are brought to good effect : the vows of living to 
him who has been so merciful and kind to them, are 

A DISCOURSE ON JOB XXII. 21 — 23. 153 

paid ; every new blessing is a new reason why they 
should love him more and serve him better; they feel 
this to be their duty and their interest ; they vow and 
pray on ; are supported, and enabled to pay their vows. 

7« Such shall have success in all their good resolutions : 
" Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be esta- 
blished unto thee," ver. 28. " The liberal man deviseth 
liberal things: and by liberal things shall he stand." 
This is the doctrine of a prophet superior to Eliphaz ; 
but the sentiment is nearly the same with that which 
the latter here expresses. Loving God with all the heart, 
and our neighbour as ourselves, is a disposition from 
which much glory may be purposed to the Supreme 
Being, and much good to our fellows. The holy man 
decrees both, and God who was with his heart to decree, 
will be with his head and his hand to accomplish : and 
it is truly wonderful to see how much good such persons 
decree or resolve, and how much they are enabled to 
effect ! Benevolence and beneficence are the component 
parts of love : a genuine Christian incessantly wills well, 
or is benevolent ; and according to his power — the means 
which God's grace and strength furnish— is beneficent; 
he wills well, and he does well. 

8. The concluding advantage of this acquaintance and 
reconciliation to God, is the promise of his continual 
approbation and blessing : " The light shall shine upon 
thy ways," ibid. The light is God's approbation, 1st. In 
the soul; 2nd, On the providential path — thou shalt 
never walk in darkness — thou shalt have no uncertainty 
concerning the blessedness of thy state — thou shalt con- 
stantly know that thou art of God by the spirit which 
he hath given thee. 

Those who are acquainted with God, and reconciled to 
him, walk in the light, as He is in the light ; they have 
communion with him, and with all who are like minded, 


and feel that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth them 
from all sin ; so they continue to grow in grace, and in 
the knowledge of Jesus Christ. They have also his 
blessing in their basket and in their store ; in the work 
of their heads and the labour of their hands. It is the 
will of God that they should have that measure of pros- 
perity in all their secular affairs, as shall enable them to 
owe no man anything, and to provide things honest in 
the sight of all men ; therefore, acquaint thyself with 
God, — and let this be done now. There is not a mo- 
ment to lose. Death is at the door. The tabernacle is 
decaying in all, and with some already in decay. There- 

Acquaint thyself now with him, because thou inayest 
have no other time, and eternity is at hand. 

Let this acquaintance now take place, because of the 
great happiness thou mayest receive. 

Because of the perdition with which thou art threat- 

Thou shalt have peace, arhw shalom, prosperity — what- 
ever may contribute to thy present and eternal happi- 
ness. Thou shalt have peace with God ; peace in thy 
own conscience ; peace with every man ; and prosperity 
of soul at all times. 

Thus ends the account of the benefits which result 
from an acquaintance and reconciliation with God. 

Nothing remains now but to press you to attend more 
particularly to the exhortation in the text. And can 
there be more powerful motives to this than the wonder- 
ful benefits which are the result of this acquaintance ■? 
Listen to your own interests, and you will listen to the 
text. Shut not your eyes against the light, and it will 
show you how to walk and to please God. It is of God's 
mercy that you are called to this acquaintance; but 
though that mercy in itself endureth for ever, yet your 

A DISCOURSE ON JOB XXII. 21 — 23. 155 

day of probation may have a speedy end. Hence the 
text says, " Acquaint thyself now with him." The season 
of grace and life neglected, all is lost. You have not a 
moment to lose. No people on earth hold their lives 
more precariously than the inhabitants of these northern 
isles. You are ever exposed to more dangers, — you who 
go down to the sea in ships, and transact your most 
laborious business in light skiffs on the deep waters of 
these tempestuous seas, — than the men who till the earth 
for their subsistence. Above all others you should ever 
stand ready to meet your God. With him, as your 
Father, Friend, and Preserver, you should be deeply 
acquainted — to him you should be reconciled through 
the blood of his Son. 

Slight not the exhortation in the text, and neglect not 
his, who is come more than a thousand miles by sea 
and land to second the exhortation, and to beseech you 
in Christ's stead to be reconciled to God. Love to your 
souls has caused Jesus Christ to shed his blood for you 
— and love to your souls and your country has led your 
preacher, fast bordering on threescore years and ten, to 
come to the uttermost northern bounds of the British 
dominions, to show and prove to you that God loves 
you ; and that he wills you should come to the know- 
ledge of the truth, and be saved with all the power of 
an endless life. O my friends, my brethren, acquaint 
now yourselves with this good, gracious, and merciful 
God ; and thereby good, ineffable good, will come unto 
you. Amen. 



Matthew xxii. 35 — 40. 

35. " Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, 
tempting him, and saying, 

36. "Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 

37. " Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God 
with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 

38. " This is the first and great commandment. 

39. " And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neigh- 
bour as thyself. 

40. " On these two commandments hang all the law and the 

The love we owe to God and man, the subject of these 
verses, is of the very greatest importance, and should be 
well understood by every man, as we are assured by our 
Lord himself that the whole of religion is comprised in 
thus loving God and our neighbour. 

But what is religion ? And what is the true religion? 
These are questions that have been seriously asked by 
some who were inquiring the way to Zion, with their 
faces thitherward, and earnestly wishing to know how 
they might escape the perdition of ungodly men ; and a 
simily inquiry has been made captiously by others, from 
a supercilious incredulity, taking for granted that their 

A DISCOURSE ON MATT. XXII. 35 — 40. 157 

question could not be solved in a satisfactory manner. 
The Christian religion is a revelation from God himself, 
giving a knowledge of his own being, attributes, and 
works ; and of man, his nature, present state, and ne- 
cessities; showing also the way in which the whole 
human race may have all their spiritual wants supplied, 
their souls delivered from evil passions, and be made 
partakers of a divine nature, escape the corruption that 
is in the world through evil desire, and, being made 
truly holy, become in consequence contented and happy, 
and stand in a continual preparation for the blessedness 
of the eternal world. 

But how is this religion, this holiness, content, and 
happiness, to be acquired ? " In itself," say objectors, 
" it seems impossible, in such a state of imperfection and 
sinfulness as the present is ; and, whatever may be stated 
by theory, fact and general experience seem to prove 
that such a state cannot be enjoyed on earth ; and if to 
be in such a state be what is termed true religion, and no 
such state is to be found below — then there is no such 
thing as this true religion, — or — it was not made for the 
sons of men." But do such assertions as these prove 
that the objectors have deeply considered the subject? 
Is it after the fullest investigation of the question that 
they have come to this conclusion ? Or is this an echo 
of the wicked word of a lying world, that knows as little 
of God as of his religion ; and goes on sowing to the 
flesh, and of it reaping corruption and ruin ? But, should 
there be any honest seriousness in such objectors, a pro- 
per consideration of our Lord's words in the text, will, I 
hope, lead them to form a different conclusion. 

The occasion of this discourse was as follows: A 
lawyer, apparently of the sect of the Pharisees, who had 
been present when our Lord had confounded the Hero- 


dians, ver. 1£ — 22 ; and had silenced the Sadducees, ver. 
23 — 32; hoping to succeed better than the former, as* 
having a better cause, came forward, questioned him, 
and said, " Master, which is the great commandment of 
the law?" 

As the word lawyer, in its common acceptation among 
us, may mislead, as it has not the same meaning in the 
New Testament, it may be necessary to make a few ob - 
servations upon it. 

The word vofwzoQ, signifies " a teacher of the law ; and 
thus our ancient Anglo-Saxon version, se-lafieop, a law- 
teacher, or a doctor of the law. These teachers of the 
law were the same as the scribes, or what Dr. Wotton 
calls letter-men, whom he supposes to be the same as the 
Karaites, a sect of the Jews who rejected all the tradi- 
tions of the elders, and admitted nothing but the written 
word. These are allowed to have kept more closely to 
the spiritual meaning of the law and the prophets than 
the Pharisees did ; and hence the question proposed by 
this lawyer, who in Mark xii. 28 is called " one of the 
scribes," was of a more spiritual and refined nature than 
those proposed by the Herodians and Sadducees already 
mentioned. But this question, however good in itself, 
was not candidly proposed by this law-teacher ; " he 
asked, tempting him," trying to convict him of ignorance, 
or to confound him by subtlety. 

To connect this the better with the context, and see 
the situation in which our blessed Lord was now placed, 
it will be necessary to observe, that we have here exhi- 
bited to our view three kinds of enemies and false 
accusers, that rose up against our Lord ; and the three 
sorts of accusations brought against him, viz. : 

1. The Herodians, or politicians or courtiers belong- 
ing to Herod, who form their questions and accusations 

A DISCOURSE ON MATT. XXII. 35 — 40. 159 

on the rights of the prince and matters of state ; they 
came forward with, " Is it lawful to give tribute to 
Csesar, or not?" ver. 17- 

2. The Sadducees or libertines, who founded their 
question upon matters of religion and articles of faith, 
which themselves did not believe. Hence they propose 
a question concerning the resurrection, and that pro- 
vision of the Mosaic law which states, " If a man take a 
wife, and he die childless, his brother shall take his widow, 
and raise up a posterity, that shall succeed to the first 
brother's estate, and to all his rights and privileges/' 
" Master, Moses said," &c, ver. 24. 

3. The Pharisees, whether scribes or Karaites, who 
were all hypocritical pretenders to devotion : they came 
and proposed a question on that vital and practical god- 
liness, the love of God and man, of which they wished 
themselves to be thought the sole proprietors, " Master, 
which is the great commandment V ver. 36. 

To this question our Lord immediately answers, "Thou 
shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with 
all thy soul, and with all thy mind ; and thou shalt love 
thy neighbour as thyself." 

In these two commandments mention is made of three 
kinds of love ; viz., 1 . The love we owe to God ; 2. The 
love we owe to our neighbour ; 3. The love we owe to 
ourselves. These must not be confounded; and to 
prevent this, a correct definition should be given of each ; 
for the term love, in relation to God, to our neighbour, 
and to ourselves, does not present the same sense, though 
all partake of the same radical idea. 

Though we may define the term, which however is 
not very easily done, yet the thing is extremely difficult ; 
and philosophers, critics, and divines have spent their 
strength on it. Scarcely any definition yet given is suf- 
ficiently simple. That the thing itself has for its basis 


esteem an<J desire, there can be little doubt. Dr. South, 
whose definition has been admired, has rather described 
the effects than the principle. " Love," says he, " is such 
an affection as cannot so properly be said to be in the 
soul, as the soul to be in that. It is the great instru- 
ment of nature, the bond and cement of society, the 
spirit and spring of the universe. It is the whole man 
wrapt up in one desire." 

When we see goodness and excellence, we cannot but 
esteem them ; and the possessor of them seems pecu- 
liarly entitled to our respect. Aware of the utility of 
such virtues, we cannot but desire their acquisition. If 
the possession of the person or thing in which these re- 
side be possible, we earnestly desire that possession. 
Esteem and desire produce anxiety and strenuous endea- 
vour to gain this possession; and the ardour of the 
desire will be in proportion to the view we have of that 
goodness and excellence, and the conviction we feel of 
their being necessary to our happiness. Hence, indeed, 
it may be said, the whole man is wrapt up in one de- 

But as the term love is that on which the whole 
strength of these commandments rests, it will be neces- 
sary to inquire here also into its grammatical or literal 
meaning, as was found to be expedient in other places. 

The word ayairr], from aycnraw, I love, is variously 
compounded and derived by lexicographers and critics. 
I shall produce those which seem to bear the most directly 
on the subject. Ayanr] is supposed to be compounded of 
ayav and -koihv, " to act vehemently or intensely ;" or of 
ayuv Kara nav, because love is always active, and will work 
in every possible way ; for he who loves is with all his 
affection and desire carried forward to the beloved object, 
in order to possess and enjoy it. Some derive it from 
ayav and iraveoQai, " to be completely at rest, or to be in- 

A DISCOURSE ON MATT. XXII. 35 — 40. 161 

tensely satisfied" with that which he loves ; and this rest- 
ing completely on it, because perfectly satisfied with it, 
constitutes essentially what is called love. Others de- 
rive it from ayav and iraw, because a person eagerly em- 
braces and vigorously holds fast that which is' the 
object of his affection. Lastly, others suppose it to be 
compounded of ayau, I admire, and -Kavojiai, I rest, be- 
cause that which a person loves intensely, he rests in 
with fixed admiration and contemplation. This shows 
that genuine love changes not, but always abides steadily 
attached to that which is the sole object of its regard. 

Our English term love, we have from the Anglo-Saxon 
lopa or lupa, from lupan and lujuan, to desire, love, favour, 
cherish ; and both are most probably derived from the 
Teutonic, lebett, to live, because love is the means, dis- 
penser, and preserver of life ; and without it life would 
have nothing desirable, nor indeed anything even sup- 
portable. The Latin amo, I love, has been derived by 
Minshieu from the Hebrew nnn chamah, to burn, to waste 
and dry up, parch : and considering it is an animal 
affection, having an animal object, this is sufficiently 
descriptive of its nature and effects ; hence these Leo- 
nine verses, — 

Nescio quid sit amor ; nee amo, nee amor, nee amavi, 
At scio, si quis amat, uritur igni gravi. 

I do not know what love is ; I do not love, I am not loved, nor 
have I loved. But this I know, that whosoever is in love, is burnt 
up by a strong fire. 

This is the effect of hopeless love, where it is intense 
and undivided. So the poet, who in the following lines 
has painted it in a very affecting manner : — 

She never told her love ; 
But let concealment, like a worm i' the bud, 
Feed on her damask cheek ; she pin'd in thought ; 


And with a green and yellow melancholy, 
Site sat like patience on a monument, 
Smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed 1 

If I understand them right, it is in this way, and with 
this kind of love, that some ascetic or mystical writers 
would have us love God. And under the influence of 
such a feeling, many of them pined till their moisture 
was turned to the drought of summer, and they died in. 
a sort of languishing ecstasy ! But this is not the love 
in the text: it is all intensely sublime and spiritual, 
pure and holy. It has nothing earthly, nothing animal, 
or fleshly in it. It is a pure flame, that has come from 
God, changing and refining our whole nature, and re- 
turning all its ardours back to himself; for there is 
nothing on earth to which it can attach itself as a source 
from which it can derive gratification and contentment. 
It is as much health to the body as it is health to the 

Whatever may be thought of the preceding etymolo- 
gies, as being either just or probable, one thing will be 
evident to all those who know what love means, that 
they throw much light upon the subject, and manifest it 
in a variety of striking points of view. 

The ancient author of a MS. Greek Lexicon, in the 
Royal Library at Paris, under the word ayairt], has the 
following definition : kairaoroq irpoOteig stti rr\ ^t\to rov 
QiKovfitvov — Hvpypyxia — " A pleasing surrender of friend- 
ship to a friend — an identity or sameness of soul." This 
love is a sovereign preference given to one above all 
others, present or absent; a concentration of all the 
thoughts and desires in a single object, which is pre- 
ferred to all others. Now, apply this definition to the 
love which God requires of his creatures, and you will 
have the most correct view of the subject. Hence it 
appears, that by this love the soul cleaves to, affectionately 


admires, and consequently rests in God, supremely pleased 
and satisfied with him as its portion ; that it acts from 
him as its author, for him as its master, and to him as 
its end ; that by it all the powers and faculties of the 
mind are concentrated in the Lord of the universe ; that 
by it the whole man is willingly surrendered to the Most 
High ; and that through it an identity or sameness of 
spirit with the Lord is acquired — the person being made 
a partaker of the divine nature, having the mind in him 
that was in Christ, and thus dwelling in God, and God 
in him. 

But how is this love to be applied in the present case, 
and in what manner ? Why it occupies the whole man, 
in all his powers of body and mind. God says, and 
Christ here repeats it, u Thou shalt love the Lord thy 
God with all thy heart, soul, and mind." In the parallel 
place, Mark xii. 30, the whole passage reads thus, " Thou 
shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with 
all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy 
strength " the same word is added in the parallel 
place, Luke x. 27- I shall consider it therefore as a part 
of the text, which indeed is supported, not only by those 
two evangelists, but by several MSS., and by the Syriac 
and Ethiopic Versions. I grant, however, that it is an 
addition made by our Lord, for it is not in the original 
Hebrew. With this addition, the original runs thus, — 
Aya7rr}ati£ Kvpiov tqv Qeov ffou, tv 6\rj rr\ icapSia aov kcil tv 6\i] 
Tt] ipuxf gov, Kai tv 6\t] tk\ diavoia ffov [/ecu tv 6\jj ttj tayvi 

1. What then is implied in loving God with all the 
heart ? 

The heart is generally considered the seat of the affec- 
tions and passions — the place of hopes, wishes, desires, 
appetites, and the like ; and he loves God with all his 
heart, who loves nothing in comparison of him, and 
vcl. it. H 


nothing ftut in reference to him ; who is ready to give up, 
do, or suffer anything in order to please and glorify him ; 
who has in his heart neither love nor hatred, hope nor 
fear, inclination nor aversion, desire nor delight, but as 
they relate to God, and are regulated by him. No man 
can love God with his whole heart, if the desire of the 
world, the desire of the eye, and the pride of life be not 
separated from it. 

Such a love, that Being who is infinitely perfect, gooli, 
wise, powerful, beneficent, and merciful, merits and re- 
quires from his intelligent creatures ; and in fulfilling this 
duty the soul finds its perfection and felicity ; for it rests 
in the source of goodness 1 , and is penetrated with inces- 
sant influences from him who is the essence and centre 
of all that is amiable ; for he is the God of all grace. 
This is the love which an intelligent creature owes espe- 
cially to its Creator, a servant to his Almighty Master, 
a son to his most affectionate Father. This love is 
founded on all the attributes of the Deity, includes all 
sorts of duties, and is binding both on angels and men. 
It calls forth all the powers and faculties of an intelli- 
gent being into action ; and directs their operations to the 
accomplishment of the most important purposes, and the 
attainment of the most excellent ends. To this love of 
God all should submit, everything give place, and to it 
everything should be referred. 

He who can thus love his Maker must have his heart 
sprinkled from an evil conscience, and feel in conse- 
quence that Christ dwells in his heart by faith, and has 
rooted and grounded him in his love. 

2. What is implied in loving God with all the soul ? 

He loves God with all his soul, tv 6X»j rr\ \pvxV) with oil 
his life — who is ready to give up his life for his sake — 
who is ready to endure all sorts of torments, and to be 
deprived of all kinds of comforts, rather than dishonour 


God. He who employs life, with all its comforts and 
conveniences, to glorify him in, by, and through all — to 
whom life and death are nothing but as they come from 
and lead to God — who labours to promote the cause of 
God and truth in the world, denying himself, taking up 
his cross daily — neither eating, drinking, sleeping, rest- 
ing, labouring, toiling, but in reference to the glory of 
God, his own salvation, and that of the lost world. He 
lays out his life for God, spends it for God, and can be 
a confessor or martyr, rather than defile his conscience 
and grieve the Spirit of God by doing or professing any- 
thing that is not according to his eternal truth. From 
this divine principle sprang the blood of the martyrs, 
which became the seed of the church. " They overcame 
through the blood of the Lamb and their testimony, and 
loved not their lives unto death ;" See Rev. xii. 11. 

3. He loves God with all his mind, av 6\i) ttj Siavoia, 
with all his intellect or understanding, who applies .him- 
self only to know God and his holy will ; who receives, 
with submission, gratitude, and pleasure, the sacred 
truths which he has revealed to man; who studies 
neither art nor science, but as far as it is necessary for 
the service of God, and uses it at all times to promote 
his glory ; who forms no projects nor designs, but in 
reference to God and to the interests of mankind ; who 
banishes as much as possible from his understanding and 
memory every useless, foolish, or dangerous thought, 
together with every idea which has any tendency to 
defile his soul, or turn it for a moment from the centre 
of eternal repose ; who uses all his abilities, both natural 
and acquired, to grow in the grace of God, and to perfprm 
his will in the most acceptable manner. In a word, he 
who sees God in all things — thinks of him at all times, 
having his mind continually fixed upon God — acknow- 
ledges him in all his ways — who begins, continues, and 


ends all his thoughts, words, and works to the glory of 
his name — continually planning, scheming, and devising 
how he may serve God and his generation more effec- 
tually ; his head — his intellect, going before ; his heart — 
his affections and desires, coming after. He is light ici 
the Lord, and he walks as a child of light and of the 
day, and in him there is no cause of stumbling. 

4. He loves God with all his strength, who exerts all 
the powers and faculties of his body and soul in the 
service of God ; who, for the glory of his Maker, spares 
neither labour nor cost ; who sacrifices his body, his 
health, his time, his ease, for the honour of his divine 
Master ; who employs in his service all his goods, his 
talents, his power, his credit, authority, and influence; 
doing what he does with a single eye, a loving heart, 
and with all his might ; in whose conduct is ever seen 
the work of faith, patience of hope, and labour of love. 
He never does the work of the Lord slothfully — lives 
under the influence of the energy of God's Spirit, and 
from the inward working of God's mighty power, he is 
ever striving to enter in at the strait gate, brings as many 
as he can with him, and goes even near, in courage and 
fervent love, to the brink of the pit, in order to snatch 
brands out of the burning. 

Reader, this is the man that loves God with all his 
heart, life, understanding, and strength. He himself, by 
the grace of the Lord Jesus, has been gathered out of the 
corruption that is in the world — has truly repented of 
all his sins — been justified freely though the redemption 
that is in Jesus, and continuing faithful to the grace re- 
ceived, has had the very " thoughts of his heart cleansed 
by the inspiration of God's Holy Spirit," so that he has 
been enabled (as above) "perfectly to love him, and 
worthily to magnify his holy name." What he is, he is 
by the mere mercy and powerful operation of the grace 

A DISCOURSE ON MATT. XXII. 35 — 40. 167 

of Christ ; it is by his blood he was justified, and by 
that he has been sanctified. Satan has been wholly cast 
out, and all his goods spoiled ; and his heart is become 
a temple of the Holy Ghost. He is in consequence 
crucified to the world, and tke world to him : he lives ; 
yet not he, but Christ lives in him. He beholds as in a 
glass the glory of the Lord> and is changed into the 
same image, from glory to glory. Simply and constantly 
depending on and looking to Jesus, the Author and Per- 
fecter of his faith, he receives continual supplies of en- 
lightening and sanctifying grace, and is thus fitted for 
every good word and work. O glorious state of him 
who has given God his whole heart, and in which God 
ever lives and rules ! — glorious state of blessedness upon 
earth — triumph of the grace of his God over sin and 
Satan — state of holiness and happiness far beyond this 
description, which comprises an ineffable union and com- 
munion between the ever-blessed TRINITY and the 
soul of man. O God ! let thy work appear unto thy 
servants ; and the work of our hands establish upon 
us; the work of our hands, establish thou it! Amen. 

The law-doctor had asked, " Which is the great com- 
mandment in the law V Our Lord having stated the 
commandment itself, adds, "This is the first and great 

There are several particulars which are usually referred 
to, in order to show that this is the first and also the 
great commandment. It is so, — 

1. In its antiquity. It is as old as the creation of 
man, and was originally written on the human heart. It 
is natural for every child to love its parents — they are the 
fountain of its being, and the authors of all its comforts 
and enjoyments. It is naturally led to them for a supply 
of all its wants, for its defence against dangers, and for 


all the information it needs relative to outward objects, 
and the relation in which it stands to them- Could any 
child be more sensible of these things than our first 
parents, when they came out of the hands of their Maker ? 
They knew him as their Creator; they saw that his 
bounty had provided for them all the things they needed. 
They saw him in every way great, and glorious, and 
good ; they felt their relation to him ; they loved him 
with all their powers ; their love was pure and holy ; and 
it was not and could not be divided ; there was no other 
object of love ; no other claimant of the homage and 
affections of their hearts. This was therefore the first 
and the great commandment. It was the first informa- 
tion they received from God, and the first diotate of their 
own hearts. 

2. It is the first and greatest in dignity. And this is 
evident, in its directly and immediately proceeding from 
God, and referring to him. He is its author; and it 
belongs to that image and likeness of God in which they 
were created ; and it must therefore be the greatest, best, 
and most useful. He gave it to man in the most perfect 
state of his being, and the ability to observe it proved 
the perfection of that being ; and it had the most per- 
fect of beings for its object; and that most perfect of 
beings was pleased with its exercise. 

3. In excellence. It is the chief of all others, be- 
cause all others are included in it, and spring from it ; 
and thus exceeds in its excellence, as the cause excels 
the effect. It excels, as it is the chief command of both 
covenants ; and contains the very spirit of the divine 
adoption : " We love him, because he first loved us." 

4. In justice. Because it alone renders to God his 
due : for it prefers him before all things, and secures to 
him his proper place and rank, in relation to them. Not 
to prefer him to all the works of his hands, would be 


the height of injustice and ingratitude ; to put anything 
in his place, the grossest idolatry. Being under infinite 
obligation to God, we owe him the homage of the heart. 
He is our author, our sovereign, and our preserver. Jus- 
tice itself says, " Love him in return for his love." 

5. It is the first and greatest, in reference to its suffi- 
ciency. It is the fountain whence holiness, content- 
ment, and happiness spring. He that loves God, as has 
been before described, requires nothing else to make him 
holy and happy in this life, and happy and glorious in 
the life to come. He whose heart is filled with the love 
of God, needs nothing else to make him happy. This 
alone is sufficient, it is a fulness of sufficiency. 

6. In fruitfulness. All obedience to God springs 
from this; all benevolence and beneficence have their 
origin in this also. It is the very root of all the other 
commandments, and the fulfilling of the divine law. 
When love to God is the spring of all human actions, 
how beneficent, how useful to man, how honourable to 
God, must those actions be ! 

7- It is the first and greatest in virtue and efficacy. 
Virtue is moral strength : it is mighty in its strength, — 
it gives life, and form, and effect to all the operations of 
body and soul. It is not only the cause of obedience, 
but the powerful incentive to all duty. The love of 
Christ, says the apostle (2 Cor. v. 14), constraineth us. 
It excites to, drives on, and gives energy in, every pious, 
religious, and benevolent act. By it alone God reigns in 
the heart ; and by it the human soul is united to God. 

8. In extent. It takes in God, and all his attributes ; 
each of his attributes is an object of this love. It takes 
in all the works of his hands, — it admires and prizes 
them, because made and sustained by him who is its su- 
preme enjoyment ; it extends to every human being, — it 
is concerned for every fallen human spirit, — it loves them 


with a measure of that love which caused Christ to be- 
come incarnate, and to pour out his life unto death for 
their salvation. It is the source of philanthropy and 
generous feeling, — " it spreads itself abroad through all 
the public, and feels for every member of the land." It 
extends to the lower parts of the animate creation ; tor- 
ture, cruelty, unkindness, and harsh usage never ex- 
isted in its sphere. It is the origin of all benevolent 
institutions ; and from it the social principle has its 
origin. And as itself springs from God, so it refers all 
that is good, wise, excellent, and useful in the creature, 
to that fountain of ineffable goodness. 

9. In necessity. God made man for happiness ; 
this love is the sole cause of happiness ; where this love 
is not, there is — there can be, no happiness. The whole 
earth would be a howling wilderness without it; man 
would exist in the most wretched degree of misery ; all 
the lower animals dependant upon him would partake 
in his misery ; he himself would be next to Satan in hope- 
less wretchedness. Destitute of that love here com- 
manded, he would be filled with hate, its opposite ; for 
what love fills not in the human intellect hatred and 
enmity will. Without this, what would human life be ? 
Man would say in overwhelming trials, " I hate it ; I 
will not live always ; strangling is better than life ! " Is 
not its absence the sole cause of all suicides, and indeed 
of the general sum of human misery ? It is, therefore, 
absolutely and indispensably necessary. "Without it, 
what would angels be ? — fiends ; what would men be ? 
— brutes and demons ! 

10. It is the first and greatest commandment in dura- 
tion. The apostle has decided this point, 1 Cor. xiii. 
13 : " And now abideth faith, hope, love ; but the 
greatest of these is love." It must be continued 
through the whole duration of time; and will not be 

A DISCOURSE ON MATT. XXII. 35 — 40. 171 

discontinued throughout eternity. Men live on it, angels 
live by it. To make earth habitable, and heaven glorious, 
the love that God commands must endure for ever. With- 
out it, the race of man would not be continued on the 
earth ; and without it, the happiness of heaven would 
have an end. For all the above reasons, hear, O man! 
" Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, 
soul, mind, and strength. This is the first and great 

Having proceeded thus far, our Lord, the Fountain of 
love and goodness, takes occasion to give this teacher of 
the law a lesson, which, though contained in the old law, 
was not acknowledged in practice by even the scribes 
and Pharisees : therefore he adds, 

" And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy 
neighbour as thyself." This same commandment is found 
Lev. xix. 18 : " Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any 
grudge against the children of thy people ; but thou shalt 
love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord." But 
the Jews, in our Lord's time, had rendered this com- 
mandment of none effect ; they restrained the meaning 
of neighbour to those of their own kindred, and all 
others they considered as enemies; and thus they quoted 
this law, as our Lord testifies : " Ye have heard that it 
has been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate 
thine enemy : but I say unto you, Love your enemies, 
bless them that curse you, and pray for them which de- 
spitefully use you and persecute you." See Matt. v. 
43, 44. 

The word neighbour (in Greek, ir\r}<nov) signifies one 
that dwells near to us, from nae or naer, near, and buer, to 
dwell; and is well translated in the Anglo-Saxon, nehrtan, 
— him that is next to you; or from naeja, near, and rtanban, 
to stand, — he that stands near you. And our Lord shows 
that the acts of kindness are to be done to any person in 



distress, of whatever nation, religion, or kindred he may 
be ; and this kindness should be done to him that is 
near us, either in person, or in proxy, or by report. For 
a man may be near us personally, — near us by his repre- 
sentative, or near us, brought into our presence, by cre- 
dible report; so that any human being may be that 
neighbour to whom we should do kindness, when once 
his case and necessity is known ; for he is with us, just 
before us, in the trust-worthy report we have received. 
If a man come from the most distant part of the earth, 
the moment he is near you he has the same claim on 
your mercy and kindness, that you would have on his 
were your dwelling-place transferred to his native coun- 
try. And if he be not personally near you, the true re- 
presentation of his necessitous case, when once brought 
before you, places him in effect there ; and his claims on 
you are as strong as if he were personally present. It is 
on this very principle that the New Zealanders, our anti- 
podes, may be our neighbours, when we hear of their 
dark and dismal state, totally without God, and without 
any moral good; and it is on this same principle that 
we love them so much, as to contribute to the best of 
our power to send them the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 

This second commandment tells us that we should love 
our neighbour, thus understood, as ourselves. As this 
second commandment is like unto the first, we see that 
the love of our neighbour springs from the love of God 
as its source ; is found in the love of God as its prin- 
ciple, pattern, and end ; and the love of God is found in 
the love of our neighbour as its effect, representation, 
and infallible mark. See some observations on this sub- 
ject in the discourse on Eph. iii. 14 — 21, in Vol. I. 

This love of our neighbour is a love of equity, charity, 
succour, and benevolence. We owe to him what we 
have a right to expect from him. " Do unto all men as 


you would they should do unto you," is a positive com- 
mand of our Lord. By this rule, we should think, 
speak, and write ahout every soul of man with whom 
we are concerned; put the best construction upon all the 
words and actions of our neighbours that they can pos- 
sibly bear. By this rule, we are taught to bear with, 
love, and forgive him, if he have even been troublesome, 
or have done us wrong. We should rejoice in his hap- 
ness, mourn in his adversity ; desire and delight in his 
prosperity, and promote it to the best of our power ; in- 
struct his ignorance, help his weakness, and risk eveii 
our life for his sake and the public good. The Jews 
thought that all these things should be done to an Israel- 
ite ; that is the sense in which they understood the word 
neighbour. Hear one of their wisest and most learned 
men, Eabbi Maimon : " A Jew sees a Gentile fall into 
the sea ; let him by no means lift him out : for it is writ- 
ten, ' Thou shalt not rise up against the blood of thy 
neighbour/ But this is not thy neighbour." By this 
wretched construction of the word, a Jew is bound to 
suffer a Gentile to perish if he see him in danger of 
death, though he could easily prevent this! But we, 
thank God ! have not so learned Christ. In a word, we 
must do everything in our power, and in all and through 
all the possible varieties of circumstances, for our neigh- 
bours, which we would wish them to do for us, were our 
situations reversed. This, Jesus has taught. O how far 
is Jesus and his gospel above even Moses and his law ! 

How happy would society be were this sacred and ra- 
tional precept properly observed ! Reader, if others do 
not attend to it, it is not the less binding on thee. To 
him who loves God with all his heart, the fulfilment of 
this duty is not only possible, but easy and delightful. 
The carnal mind is enmity against God, and to it every 
sacred duty is irksome, and every heavenly virtue hate- 


ful ; but when the heart is renewed in righteousness and 
true holiness, submission to God is its element, and obe- 
dience its delight. And with respect to our neighbour 
let us ever remember, that the man who would deprive 
another of any temporal or spiritual privilege, which he 
requires that man to concede to him, is a bad member 
of civil and religious society, and is destitute of the love 
both of God and man. 

Our Lord gives us the rule and measure of this love, 
" Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." 

Self-love, as it has been generally termed, has been 
grievously decried and declaimed against, even by reli- 
gious people, as a most pernicious and dreadful evil. 
But charity would say, it is to be hoped they have not 
understood the subject on which they spoke. They have 
denominated that intense propensity which unregenerate 
men feel to gratify their carnal appetites and vicious 
passions, self-love ; whereas it might more properly be 
termed self-hatred or self-murder. If I am to love my 
neighbour as myself, and this love worketh no ill to its 
neighbour, then self-love, in the sense in which our 
Lord uses it, is something excellent. It is properly 
a disposition essential to our nature, and inseparable 
from our being ; by which we desire to be happy, and 
by which we seek the happiness we have not, and re- 
joice in it when we possess it. In a word, it is " the 
uniform wish of the soul to avoid all evil, and enjoy all 
good." Therefore he who is wholly governed by self- 
love, properly and scripturally speaking, will devote his 
whole soul to God ; and earnestly and constantly seek 
all his peace, happiness, and salvation in him alone. 

But self-love cannot make me happy ; I am only the 
subject that receives the happiness, but am not the object 
that constitutes that happiness ; for it is that object, pro- 
perly speaking, that I love ; and love, not only for its 

A DISCOURSE ON MATT. XXII. 35 — 40. 175 

own sake, but also for the sake of the happiness which 
I enjoy through it. No man, says the apostle, ever hated 
his own flesh ; but he that sinneth against God wrongeth 
his own soul, depriving it of present and eternal salva- 
tion ; and is so far from being governed by self-love, that 
he is an implacable enemy to his own best and dearest 
interests in both worlds. 

We may, if we please, call that self-love which causes 
us to have only our own interest in view ; and that man 
a self-lover, who cares for nobody, helps nobody, pities 
nobody ; who is the centre of his own paltry system, and 
extending his arms to every part of his circumference, 
rakes everything into the vortex of himself. Of the 
widow's moans, and the cries of the orphan, he is utterly 
regardless; he gets all he can — saves all he can — and 
keeps all he gets ; and cares not who wants, or who is in 
misery. I cannot call this man's principle self-love — he 
has no love for himself; as he feels no good, he does no 
good ; and as he does no act of kindness, he cannot have 
even the happiness of a dog, for a dog is pleased when 
he finds he has pleased his master. He is one who in 
his heart and conduct is abhorred of God, and despised 
by all men. Pray for him, but have no connexion with 
him : there are not many of his kind on the earth, bad 
as it is. O, pray God that he may never have his fellow. 

One word more on this general subject. When God 
says, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, — he does 
not say, Thou shalt love him better than thyself. My love 
to him should cause me to divide my last morsel with him ; 
but should I give him the whole, when I had no pros- 
pect of any supply ? It would be an unnatural act — this 
would be loving him better than myself which would be 
as opposite to law as to nature. 

Reader, review the whole of this love to God and 
man, its nature and its effects, adore God for his good- 


ness in giving thee such a law. This is the religion of 
Jesus ! Love ME, and love thy fellows. Be unutter- 
ably happy in me ; and be in perfect peace, unanimity, 
and love among yourselves ! Great Fountain and Dis- 
penser of love ! fill thy creation with this sacred princi- 
ple, for his sake who died for the salvation of a lost 
world ! Amen, 

To give due weight and importance to these commands, 
our Lord sums up the whole with this strong assertion, 

" On these two commandments hang all the law and 
the prophets." 

These two commandments are like the first and last 
links of a chain, — all the intermediate depend on them. 
True Religion begins and ends in the love of God and 
man. These are the two grand links that unite God to 
man, man to his fellows, and men again to God. 

St. Paul says, Rom. xiii. 10, " Love worketh no ill to 
his neighbour ; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." 
He who has the love of God and man in his heart can 
do no evil to any creature. He cannot avenge himself 
on his greatest enemy, much less can he injure or kill a 
man who has never done him ill. On the other hand, 
if he love him, and love him as himself, he will do him 
any kindness in his power. Disobedience to God arises 
fiom the carnal mind, which is enmity to God; but 
when the heart is filled with love to God, and the carnal 
mind is destroyed, then the enmity is destroyed, and 
obedience is delightful. He cannot be an enemy in his 
mind to God, by wicked works, who has the mind in 
him which was in Christ; and to such a mind the 
" commandments of the Lord are not grievous." Now, 
all our duties in life refer either to God, or to man, or 
to both ; there is no third party to which we are account- 
able, or to whom we owe obedience : having therefore 

A DISCOURSE ON MATT. XXII. 35 — 40. 177 

the principle of attachment and obedience to God, and 
of fraternal affection and kind offices to man (and the 
whole of God's word, whether law, prophets, psalms, 
gospels, or epistles, refers all our actions to God and 
man), therefore the love that fulfils all the commands 
relative to both must be the fulfilling of the law ; and 
thus " on these two great commandments hang all the 
law and the prophets." 

On another occasion, mentioned by St. Luke, x. 25, 
&c, a lawyer having asked our Lord, " What he should 
do to inherit eternal life ?" when asked by the Divine 
Teacher what was written in the law on this subject, and 
answering in the words of these two commandments, 
our Lord replied, " Thou hast answered right ; this do, 
and thou shalt live," ver. 28. "We may observe that the 
life which the Saviour of man promises may be con- 
sidered as the necessary consequence and the gracious 
recompence of this love to God and man. 

He whose soul rests in God, supremely and intensely 
satisfied, who always lives to and ever acts for God, 
must be happy. God, the author and fountain of life 
and felicity, lives in him ; he lives therefore a spiritual 
life, which consists in the union of God and the soul, 
as animal life consists in the union of the soul and its 
body. The works of righteousness which he performs 
are at once the evidences and the functions of this spi- 
ritual life. He lives to all the important purposes and 
concerns of life, viz., to glorify his God, and to do good 
to man. He lives under the influences of the life-giving 
Spirit, and increases daily in love both to God and man. 
The life of the wicked may be justly termed an ever- 
living death ; but the life of the righteous is an ever- 
living life. He lives in death itself ! Death is his ; it is 
the gate of eternal life to his deathless spirit. He shall 
never die ; and he lives where there is no death ; he 


lives through eternity. He lives in him who only hath 
immortality ; and him he sees as he is. Penetrated with 
the rays of his glory, he contemplates his infinite per- 
fections, each of which must beget in him endless wonder, 
delight, and satisfaction. Behold, therefore, what manner 
of love the Father hath bestowed on us, that we should 
be called the sons of God ! Father of mercies ! God of 
light, power, and love ! illuminate, quicken, and invigo- 
rate the minds of thy people ; let them see the glorious 
hope of their calling, and never rest, 

Til], transformed by faith divine, 

They gain that perfect love unknown : 

Bright in all thine image shine, 
By putting on thy Son. 

These are things which the angels desire to look into ; 
how then should men feel ! 

The pious Quesnel says, on the text of this discourse, 
" This double precept, concerning the love of God and 
of our neighbour, is the summary of all the divine and 
positive commandments ; the compendious direction and 
way to salvation ; the Bible of the simple and ignorant ; 
and the book which even the most learned will never 
thoroughly understand in this life." 

How much need have we to pray to God that he may 
open our eyes, that we may see wonders in his law ; and 
open our hearts, that we may feel his glorious power root- 
ing out the seeds of sin ! With such glorious privileges 
before us, and within our reach, why should we live in a 
state of spiritual nonage ? Shall the present generation 
be minished from the earth, before the enjoyment of this 
state of grace become general in the Church of Christ ? 
Are not all things now ready ? Has not the blood of 
the covenant been shed to justify the ungodly, and 
sanctify the unholy ; and can it ever be more efficacious 
in its nature than it now is? Does not God now 


wait to be gracious? Can he ever be more willing 
to cleanse our hearts from all unrighteousness than he 
is now ? Does he not make it our duty to love him 
this moment with all our hearts, souls, minds, and 
strength ? And does he not know that we cannot thus 
love him till he has cleansed our hearts from all un- 
righteousness ? Then he must be this moment willing 
to cleanse us if he expect a loving obedience from us, 
which he knows is impossible till he have sprinkled 
clean water upon us, and made us clean ? " The Spirit 
and the bride say, Come ! and let him that is athirst come ; 
and whosoever will, let him come, and take the water of 
life freely !" Where is the Holy Spirit, the purifier ? 
Where is faith to receive him ? In the sight of his 
Omnipotence, can it be impossible ? In the sight of his 
Sacrifice, impracticable ? No ! 

Faith, mighty Faith, the promise sees, 

And looks to that alone ; 
Laughs at impossibilities, 

And cries, It shall be done ! 

See the discourse on Eph. iii. 14 — 21, in Vol. I., 
where there are several observations on this subject. 




Prov. xxii. 17 — 21. 

17. Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise ; and 

apply thine heart unto my knowledge. 

18. For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee ; they 
shall withal be fitted in thy lips. 

19. That thy trust may be in the Lord, I have made known to thee 
this day, even to thee. 

20. Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and 

21. That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of 

truth ; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them 
that send unto thee ? 

I suppose these verses to contain an address of the 
wise man to one of his pupils, and to refer principally to 
instructions which this pupil had already received. I 
think it probable, that what is here said is built on that 
most important maxim, ver. 6, " Train up a child in the 
way he should go; and when he is old he will not 
depart from it." A short paraphrase of this verse will 
serve to show the connexion between it and the teaching 
in the text. The original of the first clause of this verse 
is curious and impressive, iavr 'S-ty -nob ^n chanac lenaar 
dl-pi dareco, " Initiate a child at the opening (mouth) of 


his path." When he comes to the opening of the way 
of life ; when reason begins to dawn, being just able to 
walk alone, and to choose in a general way between 
good and evil ; stop at this point of entrance, and begin 
a series of instructions how he is to conduct himself in 
every step he takes. Show him the duties, dangers, and 
blessings of the path ; give him directions how to per- 
form the duties, how to shun the dangers, and how to 
secure the blessings which all lie before him. Fix these 
on his mind by daily inculcation, till their impression is 
become indelible ; then lead him to practice by slow and 
almost imperceptible degrees, till each indelible impres- 
sion becomes a strongly radicated habit. Beg incessantly 
the blessing of God on all this teaching and discipline ; 
when this is done, you have obeyed the injunction of the 
wisest of men ; and then you will have strong reason 
and pointed revelation to support you in the belief that 
there is no likelihood that such impressions shall ever be 
defaced, or such habits ever be destroyed. God, who 
has commanded the duty, will infallibly give his blessing 
where the work is faithfully performed; and his seed 
sown in his own name will bring forth fruit to the glory 
and praise of his grace. 

Still a frequent recurrence to first principles will be 
necessary, — the pupil must be examined in reference to 
his progress in religious knowledge and practical piety : 
he must be reminded of his duty, of the snares of life, 
and of the use he has made of the instructions he has 
received. He must be called to the feet of his master, — 
Come, " bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the 
wise !" Is thy talent improved ? What hast thou 
gained by trading ? 

Assuming the same ground as that of Solomon, I will 
endeavour to copy his example; and, leaving all proverbs , 


and initiatory instruction, I shall endeavour to point 

I. The directions how to profit by that which wisdom 
has already delivered. 

II. The nature of the instruction, and the pleasure 
and profit to be derived from it. 

III. The end for which it was given ; and 

IV- Make an appeal to every disciple relative to the 
matter and importance of the teaching. 

V So illustrate and defend the heavenly teaching, 
that the mind of the disciple may have the fullest satis- 
faction, and most plenary evidence of the truth of God ; 
and the importance of that truth. 

VI. See the reasonableness of witnessing and faith- 
fully proclaiming what we experimentally know to 
be of the utmost importance to the welfare of men in 

I. Solomon addresses his pupil on the profitable use 
of the lessons which wisdom had already taught. 

"We might consider the whole subject in these verses 
as relating only to the wise man and his disciple ; but as 
we have the highest authority to believe that " what- 
soever was written of old time was written for our learn- 
ing," I shall consider the whole as applicable to the state 
of religious society at large ; show our advantages, and 
how we should hear the teachings of wisdom, in order 
that we may be saved. 

1. "Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the 

A wise man addresses us, and the wisdom of God 
speaks by his mouth. Not only the wise man's words, 
but his sentiments also, which are those of divine wisdom, 
should be carefully heard. It would be rude to show 

A DISCOURSE ON PROV. XXII. 17 — 21. 183 

inattention to the friendly address of any man, and es- 
pecially of one famed for science and piety ; and still 
more so if age and experience had matured his know 
ledge, and given him a certain right to speak as a master 
and to teach wisdom even among those that are perfect. 
But it would be criminal to treat with indifference him 
who speaks from heaven ; who can not only speak to the 
ear, but to the heart ; and thus gives light to apprehend 
right things, and power to feel and profit by them. Such 
a teacher is in every religious assembly ; and while he 
diffuses his light to enable us to discern our state in all 
our want, guilt, and moral disease, his power is present to 
heal us. Do we really believe that saying, "Where- 
soever two or three are gathered together in my name, I 
am in the midst of them ;" and that he who is thus pre- 
sent is the Fountain of wisdom and mercy; without 
feeling the utmost certainty of the infallibility of his 
teaching, and at the same time his great readiness to 
impart the instruction we need ? Man may even un 
designedly mislead us. God can neither deceive, nor 
be deceived. The advantage of having such a teacher 
is ineffably great. 

2, He teaches knowledge. He gives doctrines, not 
only true in themselves, but such as are confirmed by 
observation and experience. Whosoever has learned of 
him has become wise unto salvation ; and not one soul 
that has followed his directions has ever miscarried. Is 
not this consideration sufficient to induce us to come 
into his presence with thanksgiving, knowing that we 
are not only going to hear the words of Moses, the pro- 
phets, the evangelists, and the apostles, but the word of 
Him by whom, as well as of whom, Moses in the law, 
and the prophets, did write. 

On this consideration, will not your hearts say, Speak, 
Lord ! thy servants wyit to hear. He who is the sum and 


substance «of their teaching condescends to become, by 
the direct influence of his Spirit upon the heart, our im- 
mediate teacher. What a privilege ! 

3. Seeing we have such a teacher, should we not hear 
him with deep humility and attention ? This is stated 
by the wise man in the text : " Bow down thine ear, and 
hear the words of the wise." Can we for a moment sup- 
pose that we are worthy of such a privilege ? Did we 
ever, or can we ever, deserve it ? Have we not sinned 
against him, and is not our mental darkness an efFect of 
our sin ? Deeply humbled should we be in the presence 
of our Judge ; nor can that humiliation be lessened by 
the consideration that mercy rejoices over judgment, and 
to it our obligations are about to be transferred ? No — 
to eternity it must be a subject of humiliation, that so 
great was our offence, and so deep was our stain, that they 
required the humiliation of the Creator of the heavens 
and the earth to atone for the offence and wash out the 
stain : for he humbled himself — made himself of no re- 
putation — took upon him the form of a servant — was 
made in the likeness of man — became obedient unto 
death, even the death of the cross ! 

And all this was absolutely necessary, in order that he 
might become our teacher, and pour out his soul for 
transgressors. Bow down thine ear — approach his foot- 
stool with the most respectful reverence ; and while his 
ministers are teaching you out of his law, and encou- 
raging you out of the gospel, listen to hear his voice in 
your heart, accrediting the words of his servants, and 
sealing instruction upon your souls. He takes away 
the veil — diffuses light, and then you will see wonders 
in his law. But let it be remembered, that no word of 
God was ever read or heard profitably, where the spirit 
of humility did not bear rule. 

4. The words of the wise must not only be humbly 


and respectfully heard, but they must be pondered, i. e, 
well weighed, and be the subject of careful meditation. 
Hence the text says, " Apply thine heart unto all know- 
ledge;" — put thy heart to this knowledge— Jet it and thy 
heart meet ; let them meet as teacher and pupil, the one 
ready to give all instruction, and the other to receive it. 
And remember that you are to meditate on the lessons 
of wisdom in order to get practical knowledge — know- 
ledge by which you may act, till you know the truth of 
God experimentally and savingly. 

Under the first particular, I have considered knowledge 
as implying doctrine. Now if good and sound doctrine 
be not fully understood, it cannot be experienced ; and 
if not experienced, it cannot be practised ; and if not 
brought into practice, it can be of no use. Hence experi- 
mental practical religion must be that which the wise 
man calls " his knowledge ;" and this is evident — 

II. From the comfort or happiness which this know- 
ledge brings, " For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep 
them within thee," ver. 18. 

1. Thus we see that the words of the wise and his 
knowledge must be kept within, — in the mind, by recol- 
lection and reflection ; and in the heart, by experimental 
spiritual feeling. 

2. There is both pleasure and profit to be derived from 
attentive hearing ; and the words of life must be laid up 
in the heart — they are a spiritual treasure, and must be 
treasured there. 

3. Throughout all the walk and business of life, the 
Words of God bring satisfaction to the mind, comfort to 
the heart, and sure direction to the steps. These are no 
mean encouragements ; and in hearing the words of life, 
we should keep all these things in view. 

4. The man who thus attends to the teachings of wis- 
dom, shall gain such an experimental knowledge of them 


as to be able to speak of them suitably, pertinently, and 
persuasively. " They shall withal be fitted to thy lips," 
ib. A man who pretends to religion, and has no experi- 
mental knowledge of it, soon exposes himself. The words 
of it are not at all fitted in his lips. He knows not the 
principles of the language of Canaan — its grammar he 
has never learned — and to pretend to speak it, shows 
not only his own ignorance, but also his hypocrisy and 
folly. He can neither suit the Scriptures to his own state, 
nor to that of others. He cannot speak pertinently on 
cases of conscience, subtle temptation, or plausible ob- 
jections. He can have no power of persuasion, because 
he has no experience of the truth. He is not converted, 
and neither knows the Bible, himself, nor his Saviour. 

In order that the words of the Most High may be 
pleasant to a man, he must keep them within him, ^laaa 
be-bitonca, "in thy bowels," the whole viscera, which per- 
form the essential vital functions, must feel their influ- 
ence. The heart must beat for God, the lungs breathe 
for him, the stomach and bowels perform their respective 
functions, that, the whole system being in a healthy state, 
there may be an increase and preservation of strength 
and energy to be employed in the service of God. And 
even where there is not a good state of health, it is truly 
wonderful how much suffering is relieved, and how much 
weakness is supported, by the truly healing influence of 
the life of God in the soul of man. It is no wonder the 
words of God are not fitted to the lips of that man into 
whose vitals they have never been received. 

III. Let us now see the end which the wise man has 
in view, and after him the ministers of the divine word 
by giving these instructions, ver. 19, " That thy trust be 
in the Lord, I have made known to thee this day." 

1. To know, feel, and acknowledge that God is the 
Fountain of all good and perfection ; that without him 


nothing is wise, nothing holy, nothing strong, is a matter 
of the utmost importance in religion. With him we 
must begin, with him we must end. As he is the dis- 
penser of all blessings, so he is their preserver: the 
prayer of faith receives the necessary blessings, and they 
are preserved and increased by continual dependance on 
him. Therefore the wise man, and every man Avho is 
instructed in the word and doctrine, will propose this 
grand end in all their teachings, " That thy trust may be 
in the Lord, I have spoken unto thee this day ; even to 

2. He who trusts in his own heart is a fool; and 
cursed is the man who trusteth in man, and maketh 
flesh his arm. In most cases, even our veriest friends 
cannot help us ; and our own strength and wisdom we 
often find to be inefficient and of little worth. Our spi- 
ritual enemies are wise, subtle, strong, and experienced; 
they are also innumerable. They have every advantage 
against us, even considered as outward assailants ; but 
when we consider that they have a most faithful 
and powerful party within us, the weakest of which 
is stronger than ourselves, what hope is there of our 
escape ? None. But in the midst of despair we hear that 
word, " Trust in the Lord for ever ; for in the Lord Je- 
hovah is everlasting strength." And in the text we aije 
told to put our trust in the Lord ; and that it is one grand 
design of the public ministry of his word, to excite men 
to put their trust in the Omnipotent. 

3. And that such exhortations may be effectual, they 
are specific and particular : " I have made known to thee 
this day, even to thee." Every individual is addressed ; 
every person is specified : — to thee, who art nearly over- 
whelmed with despair, from a sense of thy own worth- 
lessness and weakness — to thee is the word of this salva- 
tion sent. Even a more wretched object than the above 



appears to be singled out. May / hope ? May / trust 
in God ? Is there salvation for me ?— me, the chief of 
sinners, the worst of backsliders ? Yes, even to thee, the 
Saviour of man comes. He will bless thee, by turning 
thee away from all thine iniquities. He tasted death for 
every man, and his blood cleanses from all unrighteousness. 

4> But when will he show mercy ? I answer : He is 
as specific in respect to the time, as he is to the person : 
to-day — even now when thou art calling, mourning, yea, 
almost despairing, he says, "I have made known to thee 
this day." Now, he would have thee to put thy trust 
in him : for this is the accepted time, and this the day 
of salvation. He has not commanded thee to trust in 
re^rence to the morrow, because he has not told thee 
that thou shalt live another hour. This he has done in 
times past — " I have made known to thee ;" thou hast 
had those calls often, and still I wait to be gracious ; and 
therefore make known to thee this day. The gate of 
mercy was never closed against the prayer of a peni- 
tent; and now the kingdom of heaven is open to all be- 

IV An appeal is made to the person himself, relative 
to the matter and importance of the teaching. 

1. "Have I not written to thee excellent things in 
counsels and knowledge ? " ver. 20. 

Not only general instructions are given in the way of 
oral exhortation, but excellent things have been penned 
and sent to mankind. We have, thank God, a written 
law, and a written gospel ; and copies of these have 
been multiplied by millions, and they have been trans- 
lated into almost all the languages of the earth, and have 
been sent to nearly every nation under heaven. 

2. The things contained in this revelation are said to 
be excellent; why shalashim. And what more pure 
holy, just, and good, than the law ? And what more 


heavenly, benevolent, and effectual to the salvation and 
happiness of men, than the gospel ? All these are excel- 
lent, and every page is fraught with excellent things. 

3. But as the word wu/bv shalaskim signifies third, 
thrice, three times, in three different ways ; it has been 
thought to refer to the three books written by Solomon, 
for the edification of men: 1. Canticles; 2. Koheleth 
or Ecclesiastes ; and 3. Proverbs ; all containing excellent 
things of their respective kinds. 

4. Others, understanding the word to refer to the voice 
of divine wisdom, suppose that the three grand divisions 
of the Sacred Oracles are here intended: viz. 1. The 
Law ; 2. The Prophets ; and 3. The Hagiographa. The 
division called the Law, or Sepher Torn, contained in the 
five books of Moses. The Prophets were divided into 
the former, which included Joshua, Judges, the two books 
of Samuel, and the two books of Kings : the latter, which 
included Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve minor 
prophets. The Hagiographa, or Kethubim, compre- 
hended the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Canticles, Ruth, La- 
mentations, Ecclesiastes, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and 
the two books of Chronicles. In our Lord's time, this 
division was a little different. He mentions the three 
divisions, 1. The Law t ; 2. The Prophets; and 3. The 
Psalms ; but under the word Psalms, those books which 
constitute the Hagiographa seem to be intended ; though 
Josephus mentions only the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, and 
Canticles, under that division which our Lord (appa- 
rently after him) calls the Psalms. These three divi- 
sions, as they take in the whole of the Old Testament, 
include all the excellent things of the Jewish dispen- 

5. Others think they have hit the meaning of shalaskim 
in the text, by interpreting it of the three grand intel- 
lectual sciences. 1. Morality, or Ethics; 2. Natural 

i 2 


Philosophy, or Physics ; 3. Theology, or the science of 
divine things as contained in the Scriptures. Qn all 
these subjects Solomon wrote ; but his books on natural 
philosophy are lost. 

6. To complete conjecture on this shalashim, some of 
the rabbins, and some Christians with them, find in the 
term the three senses of Scripture ; — 1. The literal ; 2. 
The figurative ; and 3. The allegorical. Here are senses 
enough out of one poor Hebrew word ; and perhaps none 
of them the true one ; for, after all, as we know the term 
thrice was often used as the term seven — a certain num- 
ber for an uncertain (see Amos i. 11; 2 Cor. xii. 8); 
so it may mean here no more than, " I have written to 
thee often, very oft ;" so in Coverdale : and as wwhw sha- 
lashim is here interpreted excellent things, or princely 
things, such as become a king to speak, we may apply 
it to the Scriptures, and the excellent doctrines they con- 
tain. Indeed it would not be difficult to prove that there 
is not one important art or science which is not alluded 
to in the Holy Scriptures, and used there to illustrate and 
inculcate heavenly truths. 

7. We find that these excellent, princely, or threefold 
teachings consist of two grand parts : — 1. Counsels — 
maiD moetsoth, from yv- yadts, to give advice, counsel, or 
information, These counsels show men what they should 
know; advise them what they should do. 2. Know- 
ledge, ran daath, from y-v yada, to perceive, or feel by 
means of the senses, and internal perception ; what should 
be felt, experienced, known to be true, by mental percep- 
tion. Therefore knowledge here may signify all that 
influences the heart and affections, and, in a divine sense 
experimental religion. In these few points, everything 
of importance to man is included. 1. To be taught what 
we should know. 2. To be advised what we should do. 
And 3. To be put in possession of the spirit of true re- 


ligion, and thus experimentally know what we should feel 
— to have that mind in us that was in Christ Jesus ; har- 
mony of all the affections, regulation of all the passions 
— in a word, genuine, solid, unruffled happiness, or that 
religion thus described by the poet : — 

" Mild, sweet, serene, and gentle was her mood ; 

Not grave with sternness, nor with lightness free ; 
Against example, resolutely good ; 

Fervent in zeal, and warm in charity." 

For more on knowledge or experimental religion, see 
under first head. 

V. All this is done to give men the fullest satisfaction 
and most plenary evidence concerning the truth of God, 
" That I might make thee to know the certainty of the 
words of truth," ver. 21. 

1. The words of truth are, Divine Revelation, or the 
doctrines of truth. 1. Doctrines that are true in them- 
selves. 2. That came not from man, nor from uncertain 
tradition ; but from the God of truth. And 3. Are 
fulfilled, and are fulfilling ; and are thus known and felt 
to be truth, •by all that believe. 

2. These words or doctrines of truth are here said to 
be certain, rwp kosheth, another word for truth itself; 
they are the truth of truth — a most singular mode of 
explanation — illustrating a thing by itself. There is no- 
thing that can be compared with truth. Truth is that 
which is the absolute opposite to all falsity, lie, sem- 
blance, deceit, feigning or fiction, counterfeit, imposture, 
hypocrisy, and everything that is contrary to the " strict 
conformity of actions to things — of words to thoughts." 
It is what is absolutely right, as opposed to what is abso- 
lutely wrong ; and, it might be added, it is what is only 
good, as opposed to what is totally evil. Even types, 
representatives, metaphors, and symbols are considered 


as falsehood, when compared with truth ; witness that 
remarkable saying of the evangelist: "The law was 
given by Moses; but grace and truth came by Jesus 
Christ," John i. 17- 

3. Most words which express or point out things of 
importance have synonimes or substitutes, by which the 
same ideas may be expressed ; and we can often say such 
word is the same as such another word; — strong the 
same as able ; next the same as nearest, &c. But we 
cannot say, " Truth the same as," for there is no syno- 
nime. We may indeed say, is "the same as verity;" 
but this is saying nothing, as it only gives a Latinized 
translation of the English term. 

4. Truth, therefore, has no compeer ; it is an essential 
attribute of God. He is the truth; the whole truth; 
and nothing but the truth (and so in his word). Pro- 
ducing existence, where there was none before, is the 
work of truth. Essence, whether of spirit or matter, is 
the effect of truth. Ideas themselves are not truths, but 
the semblances of entities; and even some entities, so 
called, may be fictitious, and perfectly unreal. Can a 
man take up the idea of a stone, and throw it at the idea 
of a lion ? But a stone is a true thing, so is a lion ; 
i. e., such things have positive, substantial existence. 

5. Now God is truth. His is a true Being. He is 
infinite, eternal, self-existent, and independent; there 
cannot be a second such ; and hence he cannot be com- 
pared ; for there is nothing, there can be nothing, like to 
him. Infinite, eternal, self-existent, and independent, 
can be spoken of no other being. But all these attributes 
are true of him. He, then, is the only Creator ; what- 
ever exists, exists by and through him. Whatever he 
does is true; it has a true existence ; it is not shadow or 
unreal idea. Whatever he says is true ; it is said, and 
must stand ; it is commanded, and must stand fast. 


6. Revelation can come only from him ; for there is no 
other source of knowledge. And his revelation is distin- 
guished from all other professed or pretended revelations, 
by its truth, manifested in the accomplishment of pre- 
dictions, and the fulfilment of promises. Pretended re- 
velations, or such as false prophets and impostors bring 
forward to deceive men, for the gain, honour, or power 
which the framers expect, should they succeed, take care 
not to deal in promises of supernatural good ; as they 
well know that they have neither supernatural powers, 
nor can avail themselves of supernatural agencies. All 
spiritual blessings and unalloyed happiness are referred 
by them, not to a temporal futurity, but to an inter- 
minable eternity. But the revelation that is true (and 
to be true, it must come from Him who is true, and who 
is the Fountain of knowledge) abounds in promises, not 
merely in reference to an eternal state, but for every 
fugitive moment of time. We have in his revelation 
exceeding great and precious promises ; these promises 
relate to every human being, in every point of its dura- 
tion ; faith apprehends them, and the true believer feels 
them to be yea and amen in Christ Jesus. Thus, ac- 
cording to his truth, God is every moment convincing, 
converting, justifying, sanctifying, sustaining, or deliver- 
ing some human being or beings; and thus religion is 
maintained in the earth; and as no sword is used, no 
secular advantages held out, to induce men to espouse 
and profess his religion, hence his operations are known 
to be spiritual, and are proved to be true, because they 
are seen to be real. 

7. His revelation is called the truth; and in that 
revelation he is often called the true God. When hig 
ancient people became idolaters, they were said to be 
without the true God, 2 Chron. xv. 3. Jeremiah callg 
him the true God, the living God, chap. x. 10. And 


our Lord *ells us that it is everlasting life to know him 
who is the true God," John xvii. 3. And when the 
people at Thessalonica embraced the gospel of Christ, 
they are said by St. Paul to have " turned from idols to 
serve the living and true God," 1 Thess. i. 9. And St. 
John assures us, that it was to reveal this true God that 
Jesus Christ came into the world : " And we know that 
the Son of God is come, and hath given us an under- 
standing, that we may know Him who is true ; and we are 
in Him who is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This 
is the true God and eternal life," 1 John v. 20. And of 
his revelation, which is called the truth, it is said, that it 
" endureth to all generations," Ps. c. 5, cxvii. 2. That 
it shall act, in reference to all believers, as a continual 
defence : " His truth shall be thy shield and buckler," 
Ps. xci. 4; for God's law is the truth, Ps. cxix. 142. 
And the Holy Scripture is said to be " the Scripture of 
truth" Dan. x. 21. And St. John asserts that the Spirit 
of God, by which, this revelation was given, is "the 
Spirit of truth," or to Uvevfta ttjq aXriQeiaq, " The Spirit of 
the truth" whose office it was to lead the minds of the 
evangelists uq iracrav ri\v aXrjduav, into the whole of the 
truth, which they were to testify to others concerning 
Jesus the Christ, and the redemption that is in him, 
John xvi. 13. And the way in which God will have all 
men to be saved is by bringing " them to the knowledge 
of the truth," 1 Tim. ii. 4 ; that is, to send them his re- 
velation, to teach them what they should know and 
believe ; what they should do ; what they should here 
receive ; and what they are to expect in an eternal state. 
8. These words of truth are certain, — the truth, 
springing from the Truth. They are not of dubious or 
difficult interpretation ; they point directly to the great 
end for which God gave them ; they promise, and they 
are fulfilled. He that pleads them by faith, receives 

A DISCOURSE ON FROV. XXII. 17 — 21. 195 

their accomplishment in the spirit and power of divine 
lore. For the Scriptures, the words of truth, as far as 
they concern the salvation of the soul, are to be experi- 
mentally understood; and by this experimental know- 
ledge, every believer has the witness in himself, and 
knows the certainty of the words of truth. 

VI. From all the above considerations, we may see 
the reasonableness of witnessing and faithfully proclaim- 
ing what we experimentally know to be of the utmost 
importance to the welfare of men in general. 

"That thou mightest answer the words of truth to 
them that send unto thee." 

1. What is meant by the words of truth, see under the 
preceding head. 

When the doctrine of salvation by Christ is distinctly 
and faithfully preached, it will excite much discussion ; 
and there will be many inquirers, What is this doctrine ? 
Have any persons received the blessings we now hear 
of, viz., the remission of sins, the witness of the Spirit, 
the full purification of the heart ? Are there any persons 
among our acquaintance, on whose word we can rely, 
who can conscientiously assert that they have a direct 
witness, not only from the words of truth, but from the 
Divine Spirit, in their consciences ; that they know and 
feel that God, for Christ's sake, has blotted out all then- 
sins ? Are there any who were well known before as 
hasty, headstrong, proud, peevish, censorious, envious, 
passionate men or women, who are become mild, meek, 
easy to be persuaded, humble, contented, gentle, bene- 
volent, merciful to the persons, property, and characters 
of their neighbours, and of society in general ; who have 
got that love, that Christian charity, that suffers long, 
and is kind — that envies not — that is not puffed up — 
that does not behave itself unseemly — that is not pro- 
voked — that thinks no evil — that bears, believes, and 



hopes all things ? That when reviled, revile not again — 
that whefi cursed, bless — when defamed, entreat; who 
are, in a word, living to the glory of God, and striving 
to promote the welfare of men ? " Where are such ? 
What are the collateral arguments by which you prove 
that God has done these things for those persons ? Can 
you show us that you and they have not misapprehended 
the meaning of the Scriptures you quote V 

2. Inquiries of this kind should meet with the 
speediest, the mildest, and most distinct answers; and 
the doctrine of truth should be illustrated and supported 
by the words of truth. St. Peter, 1 Epist. iii. 15, gives 
some important advice on this head : " Be ready," says 
he, " always to give an answer to every man that asketh 
you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness 
and fear." Do not permit your readiness to answer, nor 
the confidence you have in the goodness of your cause, 
to lead you to answer pertly or superciliously to any 
person ; defend the truth with all possible gentleness and 
fear, lest, while you are doing it, you should forget his 
presence whose cause you support ; or say aught that is 
unbecoming the dignity and holiness of the religion you 
have espoused; or is inconsistent with that heavenly 
temper which the indwelling spirit of your meek and 
lowly Saviour must infallibly produce. 

3. Let all those who believe these great truths, and 
maintain them in their conversation with religious people, 
or with cavillers, take good heed that those sacred doc- 
trines be not blasphemed, through the unsteadiness of 
their conduct, or the improper government of their spi- 
rits. They, above all others, who make such professions, 
should be careful to maintain good works, and in all 
things to manifest a right spirit, lest%ey should be a 
stumbling-block to the weak. 

I shall now, as a curiosity, put down these verses as 

A DISCOURSE ON PROV. XXII. 17 — 21. 197 

they exist in the first translation of the Bible into En- 
glish, about A. D. 1350. 

Jftg gone bofoe in tfjtn eer, anir fjeete tfje toorois of toise 
mm. VLtsz to forsotfj fjerte to nig troctrme, tfje ba^ic^e fair 
scfjal ben to tfjee tofjenn t^ou iteptst it in tfji toombe; anir 
scfjal reiountren in tfji Itppts, tfjat in tfje Horlr be tfji trost. 
©JSfjwfor antr I scfjal scfjetoen tfjee it to trag. Hoo E fjabe 
triscribeoe it tfjre toise in t^ougTjtts anU ftunngnge; tfjat £ 
scfjuttre scfjetoen to tfjee steUfastnesse, an& fair specfjts of 
tretotfj tfjou scfjuttrist anstoeren of tfjcse tfjtngis to fjem tfjat 
scnten tfjee. 

Coverd ale's Version, 1535, the first printed edition : 
"JBg sonne botoe Irotone tfjine eare, anir fjerften unto tfje 
tootles of togsstrome, applge tfji mgntie unto rog iroctrine: for 
it is a pleasaunt tfjingegf tfjou Sepe it in tfjine fjerte, antr 
practise it in tfji moutfj: tfjat tfjou magest alfoage put tfji 
trust in tfje Hortre. f^abe not I toarnetr tfjee berg oft toitfj 
counsell antr lerninge ? tfjat $ migfjt scfjetoe tfjee tfje treutfj, 
an& tfjat tfjou toitfj tfje berite migfjtest anstoere tfjem tfjat lagc 
eng tfjinge against tfjee." 

1. From this important passage we learn, that God in 
his mercy has given a revelation of his will to man, every 
way calculated to make him wise, holy, and useful. 

2. That this revelation is the truth, and the full truth, 
on all the subjects which it embraces ; and contains in 
itself the full evidence of its authenticity; and to all . 
that receive it, it is the power of God to salvation. 

3. That this revelation contains a vast variety of pro- 
mises, suited to all circumstances of life, and to every 
state in which the human being can possibly be found. 

4. That the great majority of those promises are for 
the present life ; and divine truth is pledged, that all 
these promises shall be fulfilled to them who by faith 
and prayer seek their accomplishment from God. 

5. That this fulfilment is a standing evidence of the 


truth of this revelation ; for every one who asks, receives 
— who seeks, finds — and to him who knocks, the gate of 
mercy is infallibly opened. 

6. Experimental religion is founded upon such pro- 
mises ; all believers have practical proof that his worol is 
true from beginning to end. And this shows that reli- 
gion is still the same, and that the privileges of true 
believers in the present day are equal to those which 
were the inheritance of the true, church in those days 
when prophets and seers proclaimed the righteousness of 
the Lord ; and apostles and evangelists showed forth the 
unsearchable riches of the gospel of Christ. 

7- That it is the high duty and privilege of every 
man to hear the doctrine of truth and life, to whom God 
sends it. 

8. That no man can profit by it, who does not hear in 
the spirit of humility; willingly renouncing his own 
wisdom, that he may receive that which is from above ; 
and his own fancied righteousness, that he may receive 
that which is by the inspiration of God's Spirit; that 
holiness without which none can see God — the true 
righteousness, that is by faith through Christ Jesus. 

9. That there is no state of grace into which we can 
be brought that can make us independent of God, the 
Fountain of light and life ; for the Holy Scripture speaks 
to each, that his trust may be in God ; and the more we 
know of him, and the more we are united to him, the 
more we shall feel our dependance upon him. When 
Adam ceased to feel and acknowledge his dependance 
on God, he lost his holiness and happiness. Man is not 
saved but in being brought back to his original state of 
dependance upon his Maker. 

10. That it is the privilege of every Christian believer 
to have a certainty of the state of grace in which he 


stands ; to know that God, for Christ's sake, has forgiven 
him all his sins ; the Holy Spirit bearing witness with 
his spirit, that he is a child of God. 

11. That it is the duty of eyery person to spread as 
far as he can the words of God, and to inculcate those 
doctrines by which alone men can be saved. In a word, 
to show the world, as far as his knowledge, means, and 
influence can reach, that God is loving to every man — 
that he hateth nothing that he has made — and that 
Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, has tasted death for 
every man. 

12. That it is the foolishness of folly to pretend to 
religion, if a man do not support his pretensions by a 
godly life ; for as true religion has its seat in the heart, 
it will produce its holy effects in the life. And it is 
impossible that such a principle can ever lie hid ; for it 
is the life of God in the soul of man, producing the pure 
flame of love to God, its Author, and to man, its chiei 

One of our good old Bishops gives much good advice 
on this subject, in a few words : 

1. Come to hear the word of God. 

2. Take heed that you do hear when you are come. 

3. Remember what is suited to your state in the word 
you have heard. 

4. Be sure to practise what you remember. 

5. And continue in what you practise ; thus you shall 
not receive the grace of God in vain. For if ye be 
hearers of the word only, and not doers, ye shall deceive 
your souls. 





1 Cor. i. 22—24. 

22. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom : 

23. But we preach Christ crucified ; unto the Jews a stumbling- 
block, and unto the Greeks foolishness ; 

24. But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ 
the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 


The substance of the following discourse was preached 
at the opening of a chapel in the country in the year 
1825. Not only the substance but the plan is the same ; 
but several of the points are considerably expanded, as 
I wished to speak more in detail on subjects of a nature 
entirely analogous to those in the text, and which I could 
not well introduce in an occasional sermon. Many at- 
tempts have been made to corrupt Christianity ever since 
its establishment in the world ; and, strange to tell, it was 
its professed friends that made them. From its enemies 
it never had anything to fear, whether they employed 
their pens or their swords as instruments of their enmity. 
It met all malevolence with the meekness of wisdom ; 
and all open persecution with a patience ennobled by 

A DISCOURSE ON I. COR. I. 22 24. 201 

fortitude ; and thus it quenched the fire, and blunted 
the edge of the sword, while the holiness, innocence, 
and usefulness of the lives of its followers gave it a con- 
tinual triumph over calumny and malevolence. None 
hut its professed friends could hurt it, and they only in 
two ways; either by corrupting the general creed by 
false doctrines, or impairing and degrading the simple 
apostolic worship by gaudy rites and useless ceremonies. 
With false creeds the Christian Church had often to 
contend; and with useless and worldly ceremonies it 
was often encumbered. God, in his mercy, always 
brought forward means to counteract these corruptions ; 
and revivals of pure and undefiled religion were his 
grand instruments ; and these never failed to call back 
those who were resting on their lees, and sinking into 
the spirit of the world, to first principles in doctrine and 
simplicity in worship. From these two causes the pure 
religion of Christ is now in danger ; and in the house of 
its friends religion has received some alarming wounds. 
It is fashionable to split hairs in doctrine, so as to perplex 
the simplicity of truth; to bring in strange opinions, 
which, even allowing them to have the semblance of 
truth, are but mint and cummin to those weightier 
matters of the law which they jostle and put aside. 
The discipline of Christianity has been opposed, and 
often supplanted, by rites and ceremonies, which were 
introduced either by superstition or worldly-mindedness. 
In no age of the world was Christianity more corrupted 
than in that of the school-men, who were all hair-split- 
ting men ; and the world wondered at their subtlety and 
dexterous sophistry, till religion itself became evanescent, 
and the works of Thomas Aquinas were put in place of 
the Bible. Something like this splendid trifling is now 
beginning to show itself in the Christian Church. 
May the spirit of judgment and of burning sit upon and 



refine it ! and may it come pure out of the wilderness, 
having last nothing but its dross and tin ! Even so, 
Lord Jesus. Amen, Amen. 

The city of Corinth, to whose inhabitants this epistle 
was directed, was one of the oldest cities of Greece, 
being founded more than 1500 years before the Christian 
Era. It was situated on the isthmus which connected 
Peloponnesus or Achaia, now called the Morea, to the 
mainland. It had what was called the port Lecheum, 
in the gulf of Lepanto, on the west ; and Cenchrea in 
the gulf of Egina, on the east ; by which it commanded 
the commerce of the Ionian and Egean seas, and 
consequently all Italy on the one hand, and all the 
Greek islands on the other. In a word, it embraced the 
commerce of the whole Mediterranean sea, from the 
Straits of Gibraltar on the west, to the port of Alex- 
andria on the east ; with all the coast of Egypt, Pales- 
tine, Syria, and Asia-Minor. 

Being so exceedingly well situated for trade, its riches 
became immense, and for a time these produced great 
power and great influence ; but in the end, as is ever 
the case, riches produced luxury ; luxury, effeminacy ; 
and this, a general corruption of manners. Sciences, 
arts, and literature, however, flourished much among 
its inhabitants, and CiCero termed it the luminary of 
Greece, — the sun that gave light to all the other states. 
It was ambitious of power, covetous of wealth, proud of 
its literature and learned men, vain of its public edifices, 
emulous of all that was great and splendid among its 
neighbours ; and to all these qualities it added the most 
degrading sensuality, and the most extensive, ever known 
in the world. Public prostitution formed a considerable 
nart of their religion ; they were accustomed in their 
public prayers to request the gods to multiply their pros- 

A DISCOURSE ON I. COR. I. 22 — 24. 203 

titutes ; and the temple of Yenus in this city, one of 
the most splendid of its buildings, had no less than 1000 
courtezans, who were the means of bringing an immense 
concourse of strangers to the place. In the midst of all 
this corruption, neither their literature nor the arts were 
forgotten ; in these respects the Corinthians were en- 
riched in all utterance and in all knowledge ; in oratory 
and philosophy ; and although, among all the states of 
Greece, they were the most likely to have rejected the 
pure and holy gospel of Jesus Christ ; yet in this city 
the apostle ventured to proclaim his crucified Master; 
and though single against their ocean of learning, and 
unparalleled sink of pollution, he converted multitudes, 
and founded here a very eminent and flourishing Church, 
to which he wrote the two epistles which go under his 
name, and their address. But so powerful are old deeply 
rooted propensities, till the heart is entirely purified by 
the grace of God, that he found it difficult to preserve 
many of them from lapsing into their former practices, 
which are pointedly noticed, sharply reprehended, and 
strongly guarded against in these epistles. The doctrine 
of Christ crucified finally prevailed over all subtlety and 
corruption ; and though many Jews continued to blas- 
pheme, and Gentiles to gainsay, the cross of Christ, 
even at Corinth, became the Christian's glory. 

To whom he preached, what he preached, and how he 
preached at Corinth, the verses just read declare ; and 
to enter fully into these points, I shall, — 

I. Give the history of what is contained in the twenty- 
second verse. 

II. Explain the doctrine specified in the twenty-third 

III. Make an application of the whole from what 
is laid down in the twenty-fourth verse. 

204 CHRIST crucified; 

I. I shall give the history of what is contained in the 
twenty-second verse, viz. : 

', c The Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after 

1st. Here we have two nations of people mentioned ; 
the Jews, and the Greeks. 

2nd. We have their chief moral employment specified : 
the Jews were requiring signs ; the Gentiles were seek- 
ing after wisdom. 

1. However divided and subdivided the habitable 
globe may now be, originally there was no distinction of 
nations. As all human beings proceeded from one 
father and mother, there could be no distinction, natural, 
moral, or civil; all were one family, children and children's 
children being ever able to trace themselves up to the 
parent stock ; and as the Creator had given no distinc- 
tive marks to any, so it is evident he designed they 
should consider themselves as one people, all having the 
same origin, and all referring themselves and their work 
to his glory who gave them their being, and appointed 
them their labour. Had primitive innocence continued, 
this state would have continued ; for we find that the 
first divisions and distinctions which obtained, were 
occasioned by moral differences ; the inhabitants of the 
world being first distinguished by character, — the reli- 
gious and the profane ; between those who served God, 
and those who served him not : the posterity of Cain, 
and the posterity of Seth. But even this distinc- 
tion was not decisively prominent till the confusion 
of the tongues at Babel, in the year of the world 1757 ; 
for previously to this time all the inhabitants of the 
earth were of one language, and of one speech; and 
they journeyed together ; probably having no variety of 
customs, and but one mode of worshipping the living 

A DISCOURSE ON I. COR. I. 22 — 24. 205 

and true God. So much seems pretty evidently in- 
tended by the account given Gen. xi. 1, &c. ; and this 
in all likelihood, prevailed generally through the whole 
of what was called the patriarchal age. The patriarchs, 
whose history is given in the book of Genesis, were of 
the race of Shem ; as the family of Cain never grew to 
any great eminence. An evil seed, however, was propa- 
gated in the earth, till God purged it by a flood, which 
left only eight of the primitive inhabitants ; all the rest 
having fallen victims to this scourge of the Lord. 

2. Those moral distinctions in the end led to local 
differences, and in process of time the earth became 
divided between those professing the true religion, and 
idolaters ; and this took place when God brought the 
descendants of Jacob out of Egypt, and settled them in 
Canaan ; there they received the law by the ministry of 
Moses; and in that place the worship prescribed by 
God himself was established. The different nations who 
had previously dwelt in Canaan were all idolaters ; they 
worshipped the sun, moon, and all the hosts of heaven — 
both planets and stars ; and particularly the former. 

3. The descendants of Jacob, alone, had a divine 
revelation. These were called Israelites after Jacob, who 
had been named Israel ; and they also obtained the name 
of Jews from Judah, one of the twelve sons of Jacob : 
this became their national characteristic, and this name 
they continue to retain. 

While they occupied the Promised Land, or land of 
Canaan, they were the only people on the earth that 
worshipped the true God. All the others were called 
gentes, the nations, or Gentiles ; and although the twelve 
Jewish tribes occupied but a portion of land, scarcely so 
large as England, yet they were considered as dividing 
the habitable globe with the Gentiles ; and because the 
Greeks became the most remarkable of all the Gentiles. 


for genius, science, learning, and arts ; and by them 
these acquisitions were spread over many parts of Africa 
and Asia, and over the whole of Europe; the term 
Gentiles was absorbed in them ; and all the dwellers 
upon earth were spoken of as Jews and Greeks, as the 
apostle does here; and these terms expressed all the 
people of the world, as well those who served God, as 
those who served him not. And this is the distinction 
which generally obtains in the New Testament. 

4. In ancient times the Gentiles were of little moral 
note, but they were sufficiently distinguished for their 
idolatry and wickedness ; having received the gospel of 
our Lord Jesus, they have now arisen to great eminence ; 
and the Jews who have rejected it, though they still 
continue a distinct people, are generally dwindled down 
to contempt and insignificance. Here we see the truth 
of the saying of the wise man : " Righteousness exalteth 
a nation ; but sin is the reproach of any people." 

5. Perhaps no two people, nationally considered, were 
ever more proud ; each was lost in its own self-esteem 
To the Greek, the Jew was a barbarian ; to the Jew, 
the Greek was a dog. Both held the other in supreme 
contempt. The Greeks considered the Jews as worthy 
of no regard, — as the basest and lowest of the human 
race ; and the Jews considered them as cast out from the 
presence and approbation of God, and utterly incapable 
of salvation ; and hence they hated each other with a 
perfect hatred. The Greeks or Gentiles converted to 
God now feel pity for the Jews, and have frequently 
offered them the mercies they so richly enjoy; while 
the Jews, continuing to reject the Gospel, treat the 
others with contumely and disdain. 

6. The Jews and Greeks were as opposite in their 
moral pursuits as they were in their national prejudices. 
The latter were in continual pursuit of what they called 

A DISCOURSE ON I. COR. I. 22 — 24. 207 

wisdom, So^ia, and this was divided into two kinds, 
So^ia tt}q <pv(T(o}Q, the knowledge of nature, or what we 
call natural philosophy; and So^ia tov Qtov, the wis- 
dom, of God, or rather, as they understood it, that know- 
ledge or learning which treats of spiritual heings, or what 
we call divinity. Not having an infallible teacher, they 
had no fixed principles ; and as there were many pre- 
tenders to wisdom, who went under the name of (piXoaoQoi, 
philosophers, or lovers of wisdom, each of whom made 
the most specious pretensions to the full discovery of 
truth, and then set up public schools, the whole of Greece 
was filled with teachers; these often disagreeing, they 
divided into sects, and the people of course were divided 
into parties, each supporting its favourite teacher. These 
all professed to be in pursuit of the to koXov or to ayaOov, 
what the Roman philosophers called summum bonum, the 
supreme good, — that after which all longed, and that 
without which all knew they could not be happy. But 
here again the diversity of sentiments brought about 
much confusion, there being numerous and discordant 
opinions among the philosophic sects, concerning that in 
which the supreme good consisted. 

7- A little before the incarnation, this seeking after 
wisdom, became fervent and general, and as there was 
none of sufficient wisdom and authority to say " this is 
right," and " this should be the general belief," a class 
of learned men arose, who, supposing that truth was cer- 
tainly to be found among the philosophers, though no 
one teacher or sect had it all, set themselves to select out 
of the writings of the Academics and Peripatetics — out 
of the various sects that sprung from these — the principles 
of the true philosophy ; and these were called the Eclectic 
sect. But these had no better success than the indivi- 
duals or sects from whose opinions they formed their 
selection ; all was hypothesis ; nothing was proved. Ex- 



perimeitfal philosophy did not exist, and all the energies 
of the mind were spent in speculations ; and he who was 
most profound, i. e., the most obscure, and consequently 
the least understood, was considered the ablest philoso- 
pher ! The summum bonum, or supreme good, in pursuit 
of which they wasted their oil and spent their days, 
eluded their research. Their opinions concerning it 
were endless ; not less than 288, according to Yarro and 
St. Augustine, are collectible from their writings ; and 
yet only one of these, if the truth were among them, 
could be true ; and as the supreme good can only come 
from God, for his favour and a transfusion of his holi- 
ness constitute the supreme good of man, consequently 
not one of those opinions was true, as none of them 
knew that God from whom alone this divine gift can 

Cicero, one of the greatest men in the heathen world, 
scrupled not to say, that " there is nothing in the world 
how absurd soever, but has been maintained by one phi- 
losopher or other !" Indeed they were not agreed even 
in their definition of true philosophy or wisdom. Epic- 
tetus said it consisted in three things : "1. The practice 
of precepts; 2. The reason of precepts; and 3. The 
proof of precepts." But here the question returns; 
What are the precepts, the practice of which is enjoined 
by the definition given above, the reason of which is 
required, and the proof of which is demanded ? In vain 
do we talk of practice, reason, and proof, if there be not 
important principles ; and if there be not a self-evident 
agreement, fitness, and propriety in the principles, so as 
to recommend themselves to every man's conscience, in 
vain do we ask for practice, reason, and proof. And as 
it is from truth alone that such principles can be derived, 
they cannot form right principles who have not the truth. 
In short, the teaching of philosophy has become a means 

A DISCOURSE ON I. COR. I. 22 — 24. 209 

of the emolument of the teacher ; and while they boasted 
to be free, they themselves were the slaves of various 
evil tempers and passions ; so that it was said, with great 
propriety, of philosophy or wisdom, in its several stages, 
Philosophy was impious under Diagoras ; vicious under 
Epicurus; hypocritical under Zeno; impudent under 
Diogenes; covetous under Demochares; voluptuous 
under Metrodorus ; fantastical under Crates ; scurrilous 
under Menippus ; licentious under Pyrrho ; quarrelsome 
under Cleanthes ; and at last, intolerable to all men. 
Thus, " when the world by wisdom knew not God," it 
pleased him, by the foolishness of preaching (of the pro- 
clamation of Christ crucified) to save them that believed. 
Yet the Greeks continued to seek after wisdom. 

8. The Jews, who had received much of their know- 
ledge of God, and the rites and ceremonies of his reli- 
gion, by the ministry of angels, in which miraculous in- 
terferences were frequent, at last would credit nothing 
relative to God and supernatural things, unless confirmed 
by a sign, or some supernatural appearance or fact ; 
hence the saying in the text, " The Jews require a sign," 
and "the Greeks seek after wisdom." Each of these 
people professed to have in their various pursuits, their 
perfection and happiness in view, one seeking this in 
the increase of wisdom, or the discoveries of philosophy ; 
the other in the increase or multiplication of miracles. 
These required a sign or miracle to confirm the truth of 
every oracle delivered by the most accredited prophet ; 
and at last grew so insolent and unreasonable, as to re- 
quire miracles to support their credence of things already 
confirmed by miracle ! 

9. After all their vain-glorious boasting, each of these 
people felt the need of something greater and more cer- 
tain than that which they had already received. The 
Jews had been led to expect a sovereign ruler, who should 


CHRIST crucified; 

unite smpreme power with unerring wisdom — one like to 
their ancient potentate David ; at once a hero, a legis- 
lator, a prudent governor, and a restorer of the purity 
and efficiency of the divine worship. This long ex- 
pected person was spoken of among them, by the title 
n-iran hamasshiach, the Anointed One, one who was to be 
especially sent from God, to be to them as above de- 
scribed. From the writings of Moses and the prophets, 
they were led to expect this person to come in the power 
and wisdom of God ; but they expected in him a secular 
splendour that ill comported with a spiritual ruler, sent 
immediately from heaven; and this secular splendour 
the apostle seems to have immediately in view in his use 
of the word ^rjixeiov, sign ; and this was the " sign from 
heaven " which the Pharisees and Sadducees urged Christ 
to show them, Matt. xvi. 1 : " Show us, by thy assump- 
tion of supreme power, and by thy supernatural influ- 
ence, that thou art the king sent from God, whom our 
fathers expected, and in whom alone we can have con- 
fidence." In answer to this, he calls them a " wicked 
and adulterous generation, who were ever seeking signs," 
onifiuov ewiZriTei, " seeking sign upon sign ;" but no sign 
should be given but that of the prophet Jonah ; that is, 
the passion, crucifixion, and resurrection, which would 
appear to them as weakness, and utterly inconsistent 
with the character they conceived of him, should be the 
grand proofs that he was the person sent from God, who 
was to give his life for the life of the world ; and instead 
of conquering by the sword — human armies, or conde- 
scending to employ twelve legions of angels, he should 
conquer by the cross, to the utter confusion of human 
pride and vanity; and thus he would show that his 
kingdom was not of this world. 

10. Nor were the Jews the sole people who about this 
time were seeking and expecting a supernatural leader 

A DISCOURSE ON I. COR. I. 22 24. 211 

and instructor; the Greeks also had their expectations 
raised in the same way. From the uncertainty of the 
opinions of their philosophers, and from some almost 
prophetic intimations given by Socrates, in his conver- 
sation with Alcibiades, as related by Plato, Alcib. 2, 
p. 100, Edit. Bipont. ; the Greeks felt the necessity of a 
teacher that could give them certain information relative 
to the supreme good ; and they were in high pursuit of 
this wisdom when the apostle wrote. The words of 
Socrates on this subject are very remarkable ; I will give 
the substance of them for the information of those who 
may not have the opportunity of consulting the original ; 
they may be found ,in the conclusion of the dialogue 
between Socrates and Alcibiades, concerning prayer, 
called the second Alcibiades. 

Socr. You see therefore, that it is not safe for you to 
go and pray to God, lest your addresses should happen 
to be injurious, and God should wholly reject your sacri- 
fice. It is necessary, therefore, that you should delay 
till you have learned what disposition you ought to be 
in both towards God and men. 

Alcib. But how long will it be, Socrates? And 
who will be this instructor ? 

Socr. It is he who careth for you. But as Minerva 
removed the mists from the eyes of Diomed, that he 
might distinguish gods from men ; so must he first re- 
move from your soul the mists that surround it, and 
then furnish those helps by which you shall be able to 
distinguish good from evil. 

Alcib. Let him remove that mist, or whatever else it 
be, for I shall be always ready to follow his commands, 
i o that I may become a better man. 

Socr. AXXa firjv KctKHvog Qav/jLaarrjv bai\v irtpi as irpoOv- 
ixiav «x". It is wonderful how greatly he is disposed 
towards the making you such. 

VOL II. k 

212 CHRIST crucified; 

The^e were lights shining in a dark place, all pointing 
towards Him who is the true light that lighteneth every 
man coming into the world. 

In reference to their moral condition, I have now 
given — 

I. A short history of the nations mentioned — the Jews 
and the Greeks : 2. Taken notice of their employment 
in reference to their moral expectations and feelings — 
"The Jews require a sign — the Greeks seek after wis- 
dom." The apostle next tells us how he met the requi- 
sition of the Jews, and the researches of the Greeks. 

II. This will appear from a consideration of the doc- 
trine contained in the 23rd verse, " We preach Christ 

1. We have already noticed the expectation of the Jews 
and of the Greeks, of a divine teacher; God, who had 
excited these expectations, either by his prophetic word, 
as in the case of the Jews, or by a secret influence in 
the mind, as in the case of the Greeks and other Gen- 
tiles, determined to meet them in such a way as would 
most effectually satisfy them, and promote his own glory. 
As man by his wisdom could not find out the cure for 
his own malady, for this was the invention of God, so 
the manner or way in which this remedy was to be 
applied must rest with God alone. As he saves man on 
his own terms, so he will save him in his own way. 
Not merely to hide pride from man, but because he could 
neither find out the thing nor the way ; and God chooses 
the thing and the way, because nothing less, nothing else 
than what he provided, could have answered the end. 
God alone knew best what would answer the purposes of 
his own justice and mercy — man neither knew the proper 
nature of God's justice, the extent of his own misery and 
helplessness, nor the quantum of mercy necessary to be 
applied to meet the ends of justice, and to save the de- 

A DISCOURSE ON I. COR. I. 22 — 24. 213 

linquent into that state of blessedness and perfection as 
would best accord with his wants and capacities, and 
the dignity and honour of God himself. 

2. The great ruler, lawgiver, and restorer of lapsed 
human nature, and of the pure worship of Almighty- 
God, expected by the Jews, and the unerring teacher 
whom the Greeks looked for, as the promulgator of the 
truth, and settler of all doubts relative to the opinions of 
the different philosophers, was the seed or offspring of 
the woman — the Son of a virgin, without the co-opera- 
tion of man — was he who was intended, and who, in the 
fulness of time, was manifested in the flesh. He was 
not only the "Messenger of the great design, MeyaXrjs 
tt\q fiovXrie Ayytkog," but also that Lamb of God who was 
to take away the sin of the world; and was, in that 
counsel or design, slain from the foundation of the 
world. This person, in whom dwelt all the fulness of 
the Godhead bodily, took part of human nature, that he 
might be capable of redeeming those whose nature he 
shared; and there was a congruity, if not a necessity, 
that the expiation should be made in the nature in 
which the offence was committed, and the guilt con- 

3. As sin seems to have entered into the world in the 
form or spirit of pride and vain-glory, and as contraries 
are to be counteracted by their contraries, the glorious 
Redeemer chose to be born of a woman — to take upon 
him the form of a servant — to humble himself unto 
death, even the death of the cross. In these things, by 
the example of his humility, the pride of man is abased 
and confounded, and the necessity of humiliation of soul, 
in order to salvation, fully evinced. 

4. But it was not merely to teach humility that Christ 
was made man, and suffered death upon the cross ; it was 
also, and chiefly, to make an atonement for sin. This 

k 2 

214 CHRIST crucified; 

was prefigured by the whole of the Jewish ritual, and 
especially by the whole sacrificial system; all showing 
that the death of a human being of infinite dignity was 
absolutely necessary for the salvation of a lost world. 
This most glorious person was the Christ — " God mani- 
fested in the flesh," — for that word that was "in the 
beginning with God," was " made flesh," and " taber- 
nacled among men, full of grace and truth." By this 
union with man, he, the God-man, Christ Jesus, was a 
human being of infinite dignity. And the passion and 
death of this most august Being upon the cross, was 
the atonement required and appointed, by the order both 
of the justice and mercy of God, for the redemption of 

5. The Gentiles had also their sacrifices ; for even the 
common sense of mankind agreed in this, that all men 
had sinned, and could not make reparation, by any works 
of righteousness or rites of religion, for their sin ; hence 
the necessity of an atonement. They all saw that man, 
in consequence of his sins and sinfulness, was a worth- 
less being ; that he stood in need of innumerable bless- 
ings which were totally out of his reach : hence to him a 
grand sacrifice was requisite, and that sacrifice should be 
of infinite worth. Thus it could not only atone for sin, 
but purchase the necessary blessings for them. So uni- 
versal was the persuasion that a sacrifice was necessary 
to make atonement for sin, that even the Gentiles were 
not scandalized at the doctrine of Christ crucified ; it 
was only at the circumstance of Christ's being crucified 
as a malefactor ; and the Jews were not stumbled at the 
doctrine, but at the assertion that Jesus was the Messiah, 
and that that Messiah was crucified, which they deemed 
impossible ; as, according to their notions, the Messiah 
was born to reign, not to suffer and die ; and as they had 
crucified him through maliciousness, they did not like to 

A DISCOURSE ON I. COR. I. 22 — 24. 215 

answer to God for the blood of an innocent man; for 
this the apostles had charged home upon them. 

6. It was on this ground that the apostles preached 
Christ crucified for remission of sin, there being no other 
way of salvation : all had sinned, and all must finally 
suffer, and be expelled from God and heaven eternally, or 
receive the benefit of such a sacrifice as they proclaimed 
the death of Christ to be. They were most pointed in 
stating that all who believe in him as being thus sacri- 
ficed for them, should be freely justified from all things ; 
and that the salvation of the soul could be secured no 
other way, either in reference to the Jews or the Greeks. 
And what was necessary then, is equally so now; for 
still, there is no entrance to the holiest but by his blood. 
For his meritorious death, no substitute has ever been 
found ; nor, were the thing possible, will God ever in- 
vent a new way of salvation, to accommodate the caprices 
of Jews or Gentiles; no, nor of those professing Chris- 
tians who refuse to acknowledge Christ as a sacrifice for 
sin. This may appear illiberal, but it can only be in ap- 
pearance ; for as this is the doctrine which God teaches, 
it can neither be illiberal nor improper : and there is no 
mode of interpretation that can turn away the evidence 
of those numerous Scriptures which attest that Christ 
was delivered for our offences, and rose again for our 
justification, in consequence of which we have redemp- 
tion in his blood, the remission of sins ; and there is no 
other name given under heaven among men by which 
we can be saved. Therefore all genuine Christian minis- 
ters must continue to preach Christ crucified : and why 
crucified ? That he might put away sin, by the sacrifice 
of himself. 

7- How this preaching was received, he next informs 
us : " It was to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the 
Greeks foolishness." 


The -word cricavdakov, which we translate stumbling- 
block, signifies that hit of wood in a trap called the hey 
or bridge, on which when the animal treads, the spring 
is set loose, and it falls into the pit, or is seized by the 
cheeks or grips of the trap, so that it cannot make its 
escape ; or is strangled by the grips. It signifies, also, 
any impediments laid in an open country, where an army, 
whether of horse or foot, is expected to march, which in- 
jure the feet so much, that neither man nor horse can 
proceed in it. It signifies any impediment by which a 
person is hindered in his journey ; anything which causes 
a man to decline from the truth, or from any right way, 
or to halt in that way, as a man would do who falls over 
a block in the way, and has his legs so hurt, that he either 
cannot proceed at all, or only by halt or limping. In 
short, anything that gives what we call offence, what dis- 
pleases a person, so that he will go out of the right 
road, and become the means of inducing others to depart 
from it also : anything that opposes a man's preconceived 
opinion, his prejudices, or caprices, so that he will nei- 
ther believe nor do a thing which it was his duty and 
interest to perform ; but he obeys his caprices, or follows 
his prejudices, even to his own hurt. Thus it was with 
the Jews; they were carnally minded: they had no 
notion of a spiritual kingdom, all must be secular and 
show, in their Messiah; they could not bear a man, 
however potent in miracles, &c, if he had not worldly 
pomp. Such a person was not according to their notions 
of a Messiah, and to associate with him would be to 
them scandalous and degrading. 

8. The preaching, therefore, of Christ or Messiah cru- 
cified, was such a stumbling-block to the Jews. Jesus 
came, meek, lowly, poor, and mean ; not possessing, and 
apparently not able to command, any worldly pomp. "We 
have already seen that they expected the Messiah to 

A DISCOURSE ON I. COR. I. 22 — 24. 217 

come like David in his glory : an all- conquering hero, — 
a wise legislator, — an able counsellor, — a reformer and 
supporter of the national religion. But when Christ ap- 
peared, though they were astonished at the miracles he 
wrought, and at the wisdom by which he preached, yet 
they required a sign — the token of earthly dominion, 
the assumption of royalty, which they supposed to be es- 
sentially requisite to the character of the Messiah : they 
therefore refused to acknowledge him ; and as they saw 
no secular power in him, they became inveterate against 
him ; maligned, persecuted, and at last crucified him : 
and to vindicate their iniquitous conduct, they continue, 
by all kinds of blasphemy, to traduce him and his reli- 
gion to the present day. Thus they have made him a 
stumbling-block — stumbled over him, fallen, wounded 
themselves ; and are now no more able to take one step 
in the way of salvation: and in this wounded condition 
they have been lying for 1800 years. They are also 
caught in the trap which they have laid, and into the pit 
which they have digged for others. 

9. The preaching of the cross, or Christ crucified, was 
foolishness to the Greeks ; and nearly on the same 
ground that it was a stumbling-block to the Jews. 
Whatever they might have thought of the person of 
Christ, and the mighty works which he did, had he lived 
and preached among them, they despised the doctrine 
of his apostles, because its sum and substance was, — 
Christ died for you, an(J rose again from the dead ; and 
has commanded, that repentance and remission of sins 
be preached to all nations {uq -navra ra tQvri, to all Gen- 
tiles) in his name. They could not see how a man cru- 
cified at Jerusalem as a malefactor, could by his death 
redeem them that lived at Corinth, at Athens, or Ephe- 
sus, from sin and all evil, and bring them to a state of 
endless blessedness ! Besides, the preaching of the 


apostles # was not with the wisdom of words, ver. 17, — 
that imposing show of high-sounding, obscure, and many 
compounded terms, which the Greek poets, philoso- 
phers, and orators crowded into their discourses, in order 
to induce the people to admire them. These the apos- 
tles avoided, well knowing that God would destroy the 
" wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the under- 
standing of the prudent," ver. 19, and that he would 
make foolish the wisdom of this world, ver. 20. Had they 
come with this mighty pomp of words, and the doc- 
trines of Christianity had been received, men would 
have thought that this majesty of speech had been the 
grand converting medium ; and that nothing but human 
eloquence could be the instrument of converting Jews 
and Gentiles to the religion of Christ ; but God did his 
work so that no flesh — no man — could glory in his pre- 

10. What incensed the Jews yet more, was the strong- 
assertion of the apostles, that the death inflicted on Jesus 
Christ made him the grand offering and propitiatory 
atonement of which their prophets had spoken, and to 
which all their legal sacrifices bore testimony ; and that 
from henceforth no offer of salvation could be made to 
them, nor promise of deliverance from their enemies, but 
only in the name and for the sake of him whom they 
had crucified. They still refusing to humble themselves, 
and to look to him whom they had pierced ; and having 
finally rejected the Lord that botight them ; wrath came 
upon their nation to the uttermost ; and their case being 
hopeless, the apostles left the land of Judea, and turned 
to the Gentiles ; and while many of the wise and learned 
rejected the counselof God against themselves, multi- 
tudes of the common people received the apostles' doc- 
trine, and turned from their idols to the living God ; and 
hence all the churches mentioned in the New Testa- 

A DISCOURSE ON I. COR. I. 22 24. 219 

ment were formed in the main from converted Greeks. 
Yet still their philosophers and great men continued 
seeking after wisdom, despising the simplicity of the 
preaching of the messengers of Christ; as this seemed 
foolishness in its matter, and in its manner and language 
opposite to every notion they had formed of what was 
dignified and philosophic. Thus, to multitudes the gos- 
pel was without effect ; through obstinacy and supersti- 
tion in some, and through pride and vain glory in others. 
As the Jews saw no secular power nor worldly grandeur ; 
so the Greeks saw no, rhetorical nor philosophic eminence 
in the doctrine of Christ crucified. 

But was the word of God without effect ? By no means. 
God says that his word is either a savour of life unto 
life, or death unto death, to them that hear. 

Those who continued to harden their heart against the 
highest evidence, were hardened by it : those who, in 
simplicity and godly sincerity, received the truth in the 
love thereof, were softened, enlightened, instructed, and 
built up by it. Hence — 

III. We are led to consider the application which St. 
Paul makes of the above doctrine, in the twenty-fourth 
verse : " But to them that are called, both Jews and 
Greeks, Cbrist the power of God and the wisdom of 

1. We must first consider here, Who they are who are 
saved by hearing the gospel ? They are, says the apostle, 
" they who are called," uvtoiq 8e toiq kXtitoiq, those 
who were invited to the marriage-feast; in a word, all 
those who had the opportunity of hearing the offers of 
salvation by the gospel. For the tcXnroi, called or invited, 
not only implies those who heard the call, but them also 
who received it, and actually came ; believed on Christ 
Jesus, and took upon them the profession of Christian- 
ity : it means those also, who not only believed in Christ 



and professed his religion, but who looked for and re- 
ceived it's saving influence ; by which they knew that it 
was the power of God to their salvation. These bless- 
ings were publicly offered to all ; both Jews and Gen- 
tiles, that is, all mankind. The offer freely made to all, 
by divine authority, all might embrace : there was no 
moral hinderance in the way of any man; and God 
gave every man a power to accept the invitation he sent. 
Those who did receive the invitation, received it freely ; 
as there was no restraint in one case, so there was no 
constraint in the other. Those who rejected it might 
have embraced it; those who embraced it might have 
rejected it. Those who rejected it rejected their own 
blessedness ; those who received it received present hap- 
piness, and, with it, a right to the tree of life. God has 
given every man a power to receive his truth, and come 
unto him. He who does not receive it, and continues 
in sin, is he who has abused the power; and for this 
abuse, and, consequent rejection of the salvation pro- 
vided for him, he must stand and give an account at the 
bar of God. And it is because he rejected what he 
might have received but would not, that he shall hear 
those awful words, " Depart from me, ye accursed, into 
everlasting fire, prepared for (not you, but) the devil and 
his angels." Ye have filled up the measure of your 
wilful rebellion as they did; therefore, be partakers of 
their punishment ! 

2. What is implied in the gospel being the power of 
God, and the wisdom of God. 

The Swafiig rov 0e ov, power of God, often signifies his 
miraculous eneigy ; as we have seen in other places. 
And it always means the -potency of God in energy ; not 
only a power to work, but actual working. And we 
learn from this, that the power of God ever accompanies 
the faithful preaching of his gospel. Where the gospel 

A DISCOURSE ON I. COR. I. 22 24. 221 

is preached, God works. This was contained m the 
promise, " Lo, I am with you always, to the end of the 
world :" and as he was the same yesterday that he is to- 
day, and will be to the end of the world; therefore, the 
same effects will be produced by that gospel, wherever 
it is faithfully preached, and affectionately received. 
There will be the same or similar conversions, justifica- 
tions, sanctifications, and faith working by love, that 
were the fruits of that power of God in the apostolic 
times. Where these signs follow not public preaching, 
Christ crucified is not properly or fully preached : for 
where he is fully and faithfully proclaimed, the mighty 
energy of God will accompany the preaching; so that 
the souls of the people who affectionately hear the call 
shall become enlightened ; the power of their' sins shall 
be broken; the might of their enemies crushed; the 
guilt of their sins taken away ; their hearts purified ; 
and on all that glory there will be a powerful defence, 
preserving them through faith unto salvation : thus 
they feel Christ crucified to be the power of God. This 
was the proper miracle ; but this the Jews did not seek. 

3. But they find this also to be the wisdom of God. 
The Greeks sought after wisdom; but whatever they 
found, or whatever they preached, had no changing power 
connected with it. It neither sanctified the philoso- 
phers, nor their disciples. The plan was not good, — the 
teaching was not true. As real wisdom shows the best 
end, and teaches that it is to be pursued and attained by 
the use of the best means, and these also it points out ; 
consequently, the Greeks had not the true wisdom, for 
they never discovered the best end, nor the way to 
attain it. 

Hence, the apostle says here, " The world by wisdom 
(its wisdom) knew not God :" therefore, they continued 
under the power of sin ; and by the teaching of the Gen- 

222 christ crucified; 

tile philosophers not one soul was saved from its sins. 
But the Christian believers found Christ crucified to be 
the wisdom of God, as well as his power. They could 
see a wonderful consistency in the plan of human redemp- 
tion, in the mode of its application, in the knowledge 
which it imparted ; and, as true wisdom is ever seen in 
discovering the best end, and suggesting the most efficient 
means for its attainment, they found the doctrine of the 
apostles led them directly to God, the Supreme Good, 
through Jesus Christ, the alone available sacrifice ; and 
the change in their views, hearts, passions, and lives, 
proved the divinity of the doctrine, and the powerful 
energy of the agent that applied it. 

4. Besides, all that obeyed the call or invitation 
found not only their minds enlightened, but their hearts 
ennobled, by it. Earthly things fell in their estimation, 
and heavenly things rose. They were taught that the 
animal nature was to be subjected to the rational, and 
the rational to the Spirit of God. Thus they rose in the 
scale of their own order of being ; and were taught to 
answer the end which the wisdom of God proposed 
when his power brought them into being. It opened to 
them, whether they were Jews or Greeks, the only source 
of wisdom, the only fountain of power : a wisdom ever 
at hand to teach ; a power ever present to save and to 

5. The Jews sought after a power of a secular or 
worldly kind, which to this day they have not received ; 
while they rejected the spiritual power by which they 
might have been freed, ennobled, and saved from sin and 
sinfulness. The Greeks sought after a wisdom in the 
teaching and writings of their philosophers, which gave 
no true light to the mind, and no energy to the soul : all 
their boasted wisdom left them in the gall of bitterness, 
and bonds of iniquity. 

A DISCOURSE ON I. COR. I. 22 — 24. 223 

6. All this power and wisdom was found in Christ — 
in Christ crucified. Through Christ came the teaching, 
and through him came the powerful salvation. All true 
believers, whether Jews or Greeks, found that God was 
in Christ, reconciling the world to himself; and that to 
the apostles, whom they had before despised, he had in- 
trusted the ministry of reconciliation ; and that by what 
the Greeks had called the foolishness of preaching, he 
saved them that believed from the power, guilt, and pol- 
lution of sin. Thus they saw that what they called folly 
was the supremest wisdom ; and what they called weak- 
ness was the most mighty power ; and they saw also, 
that by this folly and this weakness, so called, God had 
confounded the wisdom of the wise, and the strength of 
the mighty. In this the wisdom of God had appeared 
so signally, that the very things which they despised, and 
which they called base, God had chosen to bring to nought 
all their boasted excellence. So that, in a short time, 
their wisdom was disgraced, and the whole system of 
idolatry brought into contempt and ruin ; and the doc- 
trine of the cross alone triumphed. Behold how that 
which the wisdom of God has planned, his power has 
gloriously executed ! 

But although the Jews and Greeks, of whom the apos- 
tle speaks, are long since dead and gone, yet they have 
left a succession of representatives behind them, who have 
continued through all generations to the present time. 
These may be included in two classes : — 

I. Those who are of a similar spirit with the Jews. 

II. Those who are of the same spirit with the Greeks. 
I. The Jews professed to believe in the true God ; to 

receive a revelation from himself, to which they promised 
an implicit obedience ; and yet looked for a Messiah and 
a kingdom that were of this world, and rejected the true 
Messiah when he came. Because they saw that he was 

224 CHRIST crucified; 

despised and rejected of men, they would not acknow- 
ledge him to he the Redeemer of Israel ; and therefore, 
not only rejected, hut crucified him ! They who are 
their representatives, are all those who are looking for 
and steadily endeavouring to promote a secular state of 
the church, and to give it worldly power and earthly 

1. The principal representatives and successors of the 
ancient Jewish sign-seekers are the heads and memhers 
of the Romish church. They have raised to themselves 
a visible head, a secular prince, who, besides his own 
ecclesiastical territories, claims precedence of all poten- 
tates — calls himself Christ's Yicar on earth ; assumes 
powers, dignities, and ascendancies far beyond anything 
Jesus Christ ever claimed. Jesus, the Creator and Lord 
of the world, had not where to lay his head ; for though 
he was rich, yet for the sake of man he became poor, 
that we, through his poverty, might be made rich. Far 
from assuming authority and domination over all the 
kings of the earth, he even paid tribute to the Roman 
heathen government ; and was obliged to work a miracle 
(so poor was he) in order to get the money necessary for 
the payment ! Nor had his disciples more than himself; 
not even Peter, whose successors the popes of Rome 
pretend to be, had so much as half a shekel to pay for 
himself; so that the miracle was wrought both in behalf 
of the master and his disciple, in order to discharge the 
demanded tax ! But the Roman pontiff and his adher- 
ents, that they might have the sign of secular power and 
worldly ascendancy, patched up a religion that was cal- 
culated to impose upon the judgment and understanding, 
by meeting the desires and gratifying the wishes of the 
carnal mind ; for as the world, as to matters of religion, 
had been divided among the Greeks and the Jews, and 
was now becoming Christian, they formed a multitude 

A DISCOURSE ON I. COR. I. 22 — 24. 225 

of ecclesiastical rites and ceremonies, agreeing with a 
number of sensual dogmata, out of the three great creeds, 
the Heathen, the Jewish, and the Christian, and thus 
they hoped to make Christianity palatable to the Jew, 
because he found there many portions of his own creed ; 
and to the heathen, because he found the temples of his 
gods and goddesses devoted to Christian worship ; and, 
in many cases, the very same kind of rites observed — 
feasts that had belonged to the objects of his own hea- 
then worship, offered to gods and goddesses, under the 
names of male and female saints, virgins, confessors, mar- 
tyrs, &c. And the Christian, falling under the domina- 
tion of this pretended vicar of Christ, and representative 
of St. Peter, dared not to dispute the determinations of 
one who was supreme in power, and proclaimed himself 
infallible in judgment, having authority to ordain rites 
and ceremonies, and to say, independently of the Scrip- 
tures, what should be believed, and what not ; and to 
support this anti-christian conduct, took away the key 
of knowledge from the common people, and gave them 
traditions, which spoke anything its inventors and donors 
pleased, in place of the Bible ; caused all the religious 
services to be performed in that very language and in those 
very temples in which Jupiter and Juno, Apollo and 
Diana, Bacchus and Venus, Mars and Flora, Ceres and 
Vesta, had been worshipped with rites little differing from 
those performed in honour of disputable saints, canon- 
ized sinners : and together with these they sinfully en- 
rolled the Virgin Mary, as Cybele, Queen of Heaven, 
and Mother of God, with a ribald bead-roll of persons, 
called saints, confessors, and martyrs, with fathers and 
doctors, archangels and angels, &c, to whom prayers were 
addressed, libations poured out, vows made, and pilgrim- 
ages performed, in order to make satisfaction for sins, and 
create a superabundant stock of merits, which being at 


CHRIST crucified; 

the disposal of the church, might be given to those who 
had none, when they paid the church and performed cer- 
tain penances, which should render them capable of ap- 
propriating the merits of those who had more than they 
needed for themselves ! And if anything were left unfi- 
nished or doubtful, a purgatory was feigned, for the re- 
finement and cleansing of offences which had not been 
duly satisfied for in life; and even in this place, the 
prayers of the church, purchased by the money of sur- 
viving friends, were of sovereign virtue — to alleviate and 
shorten the sufferings of the deceased culprits, and get 
them a speedier passport from penal fire to the paradise 
into which all sent thither by the church had an unalien- 
able right to enter. And to keep this imposture from 
being perceived, the Scriptures were forbidden to be 
translated into the language of the people, who were 
called Christian ; and even a Version (indifferent enough 
in itself, but which had been authorized), though in a 
strange tongue, was not allowed to be read. Add to this, 
the pope and all his priests assumed the prerogative of 
forgiving all manner of sins, and sold indulgences to the 
profligate, by virtue of which they might commit sins for 
a specified time ; and this space was in proportion to the 
price paid for the indulgence. Nothing mor~ truly de- 
structive and infernal could have ever been suggested, 
either by the profligate cunning of man, or the malice 
of Satan ; and had not the reformation taken place, it is 
more than probable that pure Christianity would have 
been speedily abolished throughout Europe. Thus the 
church of Rome out-did, by innumerable degrees, all that 
had been done in the Jewish church by the worst of its 
rabbinical fables, puzzling genealogies, forged traditions, 
and false glosses on the words of God. And thus the 
worship of the true God was absorbed and lost in that of 
the Virgin Mary, and of real or reputed saints ; prayers 

A DISCOURSE ON I. COR. I. 22 — 24. 227 

were offered to them, and daily were they praised. They 
had their offerings and their services, their feasts and 
vigils ; and often whole classes of people were called by 
their names, instead of the name of Christ : hence Do- 
minicans, Franciscans, Augustines, Carthusians, Bene- 
dictines, &c. &c, who had become a whirlpool to engulf 
Christianity. And what is called the Holy Catholic 
Church was on the eve of becoming a sink of hea- 
thenism ; and if it have at all recovered itself from its 
sinful degradation, and travelled back on the records of 
salvation, it owes all this, under God, to Protestantism ; 
to the exposure that was made of its superstitions, false 
doctrines, and abominable idolatries, by those holy and 
learned men called reformers, many of whom were ob- 
jects of the bitterest wrath and most furious persecutions 
of that bloody church, while its supreme power and secu- 
lar authority lasted. And those men, from whom it was 
obliged to take lessons, and who were ultimately its best 
benefactors, it obliged to pass through the flames to the 
paradise of God. In no nation has this church shown 
more fellness and ferocity than in this ; the horrible per- 
secutions under that most bad sovereign, Mary, urged on 
by her most inhuman prelates, were not only abhorrent 
from humanity, but also a scandal to the civilized world. 
In the order of God's merciful providence, the worldly 
sceptre, which was in the hands of that church, the scep- 
tre of death, was wrested from it ; and since that time 
its remaining power has been variously broken, till its 
secular influence has become almost totally annihilated : 
and now (1828), in its last convulsive agonies, it seeks 
restoration in Britain by claiming a right to make or re- 
model our laws, sit on our benches of justice, and grasp 
or direct the sceptre of the prince ; that it may go out 
with strength renewed, from that country, the most potent 
in Europe, where it formerly had its firmest seat and 

228 CHRIST crucified; 

highest authority; and where it knows, if it once more 
get ascendancy, it will soon be in a condition to give its 
own laws to a bleeding death- wounded world. May the 
mercy of God prevent these evils, and the mighty power 
of his grace reform and regenerate that church, that it 
may become as pure and as holy as it was when the apos- 
tle of the Gentiles wrote his epistle to the church that 
was in Rome, "beloved of God, constituted saints," — 
" whose faith was spoken of throughout the whole 
world," and " whose obedience had come abroad unto all 
men." And may it become illustrious in holiness, and 
reputable to the ends of the earth ! It was once pure 
and holy ; it may again become such. No genuine Pro- 
testant wishes its destruction. May it again become re- 
generated, its stones revived from their rubbish, its priests 
clothed with salvation, its children shout aloud for joy; 
and the whole, as a polished temple of the Lord, become 
a habitation of God, through the Spirit ! Amen. 

2. But the Jewish spirit of sign-seeking in its succes- 
sion is not wholly confined to the Romish church : most 
churches, whether found in Rome, in Paris, in Peters- 
burgh, in Amsterdam, in Great Britain, Lisbon, or 
Madrid, whatever the form of their worship may have 
been, and of what complexion soever their creed, have 
given no unequivocal proofs of this sign-seeking spirit — 
all have sought for power; for rule and authority; a 
power above gospel law, if not above the civil law : and 
by this how many of our ancestors have been driven 
through Smithfield fires to heaven ! This is the bent, 
not only of national churches, but of all others, where 
the body was numerous, and where their power of doing 
good had raised them to consequence in the land. For- 
getting their heavenly strength, and that it was by grace 
they were saved, and by grace they stood ; and that as 

A DISCOURSE ON I. COR. I. 22 — 24. 229 

the love of God and man was their foundation, so was 
Christ their head ; they have often attempted to act, not 
as leaders, hut as rulers of the people ; in which they have 
had no countenance either from Christ or his apostles. 
To all such churches and people, Christ ever has been 
a stumbling-block. Over him, in his simplicity, purity, 
heavenly-mindedness, and humility, they have stumbled, 
fallen, and have been broken. The image that they 
worshipped being set up in the holy place, fell on the 
threshold of the porch of his tabernacle; its arms, its 
hands, and its head have been broken off; and still grant- 
ing that again there may be a general apostasy, yet the 
tabernacle of God shall, though in a wilderness, be found 
among men. 

It has been remarked, also, that when such churches 
obtained power, they became persecutors of pthers. This 
must be granted as a general fact ; but a most honourable 
exception, in respect to the English Episcopal Protestant 
Church, must be made. Its doctrines are the pure prin- 
ciples of the gospel ; its spirit, the mild and benevolent 
spirit of Christianity. And for these it stands at the 
head of all the national churches on the earth. As a 
church, it never persecuted since it recovered from the 
dregs of popery, and I believe never will. 

II. The representatives and successors of the ancient 
Greeks who sought after wisdom are they, who, losing 
sight of the spirituality of religion — knowing nothing or 
feeling nothing of communion with God, the witness of 
his Spirit, and the necessity of maintaining a daily walk 
with him, and of having a powerful spiritual ministry — 
endeavour to bring down religion to the taste of the 
world, and to find certain substitutes for all these things ; 
oppose the preaching of Christ crucified, unless all his 
work be confined to what he has done/or us, without any 
reference to what he is to do m us. 

230 christ crucified; 

In suck circumstances, the simple and forcible method 
of preaching the gospel soon degenerates, and rhetoric 
or oratory is studied much more than divinity. A co- 
pious flow and elegance of language — words of splendid 
sound, imposing epithets, and striking figures and similes, 
are everywhere sought, in order to form harmonious sen- 
tences, and finely turned periods ; a fustian language, 
misnamed oratory, is thus introduced into the church of 
Christ; but when the words of this are analysed, they 
are found, however musically arranged, to be destitute 
of force ; so that a dozen of such expressions will labour 
in vain to produce one single impressive idea that can 
illuminate the understanding, correct the judgment, or 
persuade the conscience either to hate sin or love right- 
teousness. " How forcible are right words I" can never 
be applied to such sermons ; they may please the giddy 
and superficial, but they neither edify the saint, nor bring 
conviction into the bosom of the sinner. And what re- 
dounds to their reproach and discredit is, they are flowers 
meanly stolen from the gardens of others. 

When Moses was appointed to bring the church 
through the wilderness to the Promised Land, he saw 
the utter impossibility of it, unless God went with them. 
Moses well knew that it was utterly impossible to govern 
and sustain such a numerous people in such a place 
without supernatural and miraculous assistance. God 
therefore promises that "His presence shall go with 
them, and give them rest ;" Exod. xxiii. 14, &c. And 
on the fulfilment of this promise the safety of Israel 

The church of God is often now in such a state that 
the full approbation of God cannot be manifested in it ; 
and yet if his presence were wholly withdrawn, truth 
would fall in the street, equity o- backward, and the 
church become extinct. How strangely have the seeds 

A DISCOURSE ON I. COR. I. 22 — 24. 231 

of light and life been preserved during the long, dark, 
and cold periods when error was triumphant, and the 
pure worship of God adulterated by the impurities of 
idolatry, and the thick darkness of superstition ! This 
was by the presence of his endless mercy preserving his 
own truth in circumstances in which he could not show 
his full approbation. He was with the church in the 
wilderness, in its worst state, and preserved the holy 
oracles, kept alive the heavenly seeds, and afterwards 
showed forth the glory of those designs, which before he 
had concealed from mankind, by commissioning extra- 
ordinary men to adopt extraordinary means in order to 
revive those seeds, and call the people back to first prin- 
ciples, and to that truth the sight of which they had 
lost. To this procedure of divine mercy and kindness 
we owe the present revival of religion in this land ; the 
greatest, the most powerful, and most diffusive that has 
taken place since the apostolic times. A revival, which 
continues to revive; at first like the little cloud, no 
larger than a human hand, but now overspreading the 
heavens, and pouring out its fertilising showers of truth, 
holiness, mercy, and charity, over both hemispheres of 
the earth. May its friends never corrupt it ; for, as to 
its enemies, they can never prevail against it. 

We have now seen who the Jews and Greeks were of 
the apostle's time, and who may be considered their re- 
presentatives and successors in the present day; how 
the doctrine of Christ crucified was a stumbling-block to 
the one, and foolishness to the other ; and that, not- 
withstanding, this doctrine ever was and ever will be 
the power of God to the salvation of all that believe. 
From this we may learn, that to interest the power 
of God in the conviction and conversion of sinners, 
and the building up his church in righteousness and 
true holiness ; to have his wisdom manifested, not 



only in teaching his ministers and people, but also in 
the various means used by him to teach, save, and defend 
them; and to preserve a holy people on the earth, who 
shall be faithful to his truth ; is to preach Christ cru- 
cified, and walk in his light; as he alone is the Way, 
the Truth, and the Life ; for no man cometh unto the 
Father, but by him ! Amen. 

There is yet another sense in which it may be said 
that these Jews and Greeks still have representatives in 
the Christian church. 

J . The Jews well knew that God had made a covenant 
with Abraham and all his posterity, taking him and 
them into his special protection, and giving them ex- 
ceeding and gracious promises, and also enjoining cir- 
cumcision as the sign of this covenant ; and had com- 
manded them to observe certain rites and ceremonies to 
distinguish them from all other people, .and preserve 
them from idolatry. It is true that all these things had 
spiritual meanings and references with which they inter- 
meddled little, but believed their state was perfectly safe 
as long as a well kept genealogy could show them that 
they had "Abraham for their father," — that they had 
been circumcised the eighth day after their birth, — and 
had conscientiously observed the ordinances of their 
law. Of a spiritual religion, and a circumcision of the 
heart, they knew nothing, and would know nothing, but 
depended wholly on those works of their law for justifica- 
tion and final admittance into eternal glory. In short, 
their religion was no religion of the heart, but one of 
rites and ceremonies. 

2. It is from this character and these pretensions of 
the ancient Jews being very similar to the character and 
pretensions of many who profess themselves to be Chris- 
tians, that we are justified in saying, " They have, even 
now, their representatives in the Christian Church." 

A DISCOURSE ON I. COR. I. 22 — 24. 233 

There are multitudes of people who think all is right if 
their creed he sound ; and of this, whatsoever the creed 
may he, how few doubt ! This nation was once heathen, 
hut, by the mercy of God, it became Christian; true 
religion being corrupted, the nation was afterwards 
popish, but became protestant. It is enough with many 
that they are neither in their profession, nor in their 
form of worship, papal. They look with the highest 
respect to the ancient reformers : they see Luther and 
Calvin on the Continent ; Knox, in Scotland ; and Cran- 
mer, in England ; and these have they for their fathers. 
The catechisms, creeds, confessions of faith, and litur- 
gies or directories of those eminent men, they have taken 
for their own ; and while they hold these, have no doubt 
of the soundness of their creed, and strict propriety of 
their mode of worship. And if they add to all this a 
regular attendance on the means of grace, reverently 
hearing the word preached, and duly receiving the holy 
sacrament, and being true and just in all their dealings, 
they are fully persuaded they have nothing farther to do, 
and nothing to fear. Now these, like the ancient Jewish 
Pharisees, do "make clean the outside of the cup and 
platter ;" and so far it is well and laudable : but is this 
enough ? Will not these acknowledge that they have 
sinned, and come short of the glory of God ; that they 
have come into the world with a fallen, sinful nature, — 
and that they cannot atone for the former, nor cleanse 
themselves from the latter? If, then, it required the 
death of Christ to make atonement for the sin of the 
world ; if it be " impossible that the blood of bulls and 
goats should take away sin ;" is it not equally impossible 
that the observance of religious rites and ceremonies 
should be effectual ? That no human performance of any 
kind, how well soever it may be intentioned, can satisfy 
the demands of Divine justice, for sins already com- 


mitted;or anything but the blood of Jesus purge 
a guilty conscience, or cleanse a polluted soul ? " But 
God knows we are imperfect and weak, therefore he 
accepts sincere, in the stead of perfect, obedience." But 
still, Have you not sinned? "Granted." Then how 
does it stand between Divine justice and you ? " Why, 
we must do the best we can; and God, for Christ's 
sake, will accept us ; and in this way justice will have 
no farther claim." You mean, then, that you will do a 
part, and Christ will do the rest ! Alas, for you ! Such 
is the nature of sin, and the holiness of God, that it 
requires an infinitely meritorious sacrifice to purge the 
slightest guilt. Your attachment to your creed, if it be 
sound, and your discharge of religious and social duties, 
may be good evidences of your sincerity ; and that you 
are seeking God in his own way ; but they cannot atone 
for what is past, cleanse your fallen heart, or give you 
a title to the kingdom of glory. Heaven and earth 
have not been able to find out other ransom, sacrifice, or 
atonement for sin. Jesus alone, and him crucified, is 
the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. 
No outward thing can avail, no obedience can help, 
either to justify or sanctify. The soul must be regene- 
rated, all guilt must be purged away, and the heart must 
be cleansed. " But we have been regenerated, for we 
have been duly baptized." Baptism is the sign of re- 
generation, but it is not the thing ; it is " the outward 
and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace." You 
must be " born of water, and of the Spirit." Water is 
the emblem, of the spiritual washing, but it is not the 
washing itself : " That which is born of the flesh is 
flesh •" and " that which is born of the Spirit is spirit," 
is holy, pure, and heavenly. If your water baptism had 
been spiritual regeneration, you would have a heart 
"cleansed from all unrighteousness," free from pride, 

A DISCOURSE ON I. COR. I. 22 — 24. 235 

wrath, evil desires, bad tempers, &c. But you who 
depend upon this circumcision of the flesh have not 
this ; and you know you never had it. Therefore you 
want the blood that atones and purifies from all un- 
righteousness. Your having the reformers for your 
fathers, baptism for the seal of your covenant, your at- 
tendance on church and sacrament for the foundation of 
your hope of glory, can raise you no higher than Abra- 
ham as their father, circumcision as the seal of their 
covenant, sacrifices an' 1 , ceremonies carefully offered 
and performed, as the foundation of their hope of the 
continuance of the divine favour, did the ancient Jews. 
On these things they depended; on such things you 
depend. They stumbled at " Christ crucified as the 
only atonement for sin ;" you stumble at the doctrine of 
" Christ dwelling in the heart by faith," and at having 
" the thoughts of your hearts purified by the inspiration 
of his Holy Spirit," so that you might perfectly love God, 
and worthily magnify his name. You and those Jews 
are precisely in the same state, morally considered; 
and of them you are accurate representatives. Why 
then live comparative infidels under the Gospel ? Go 
to God by faith in Christ crucified. Plead the merit of 
his passion and death alone ; nor rest till . you feel him 
to' be to you the " power of God, and the wisdom of 
God." Honesty, justice, integrity, and a strictly religi- 
ous conduct, are all excellent, and are indispensable in 
the Christian character. But they are not the " blood 
of atonement, — the purifying influences of the Holy 
Ghost ;" nor can they be their substitutes. In general, 
in the persons of whom we speak, they are but the 
semblance and shades of those graces, factitious and 
outside, often full of pride, vain-glory, and self-seek- 
ing: they spring not from God as their root. Bufr 
where the atonement is applied, the guilty conscience 


236 CHRIST crucified; 

pardoned, the heart purified by faith, there honesty, jus- 
tice, integrity, a strictly religious conduct, — in a word, the 
" mind that was in Jesus," producing these fruits, and 
evidencing itself by love, joy, peace, long-suffering, 
gentleness, goodness, fidelity, meekness, and temperance, 
the love of God, and the love of man, as the fruits of 
the Spirit; these spring up with energy and strength, 
and all produce their respective classes of effects, which 
prove them to be of God, and such as never yet sprang 
from any soul where Christ did not dwell by faith, and 
work by love. 

We may find representatives of the Greeks of the 
same description. 

1. The ancient Greeks sought after wisdom, and reck- 
oned the preaching of the Cross foolishness. There is 
a considerable class in the Christian church, who are 
thus embusied, and with the same feelings. As the 
gospel is to be preached especially to the poor, it must 
be proclaimed in the utmost simplicity. It is a system 
of well-attested facts, — these should be fully stated ; there 
is a grand system of doctrines or teachings built on 
these facts, — these should be clearly pointed out ; there is 
a corresponding line of practice deducible from these 
facts and doctrines, — this should be powerfully urged, and 
urged too on the ground of the facts themselves, viz., 
That man had totally fallen from God, and is utterly 
unable to restore himself; in his lapsed state he is not 
only wretched, but exposed to the bitter pains of an end- 
less death ; that God in his mercy has provided a ransom 
for his soul, for in his love he has sent his Son into the 
world, him in whom dwells all the fulness of the God- 
head bodily ; that he suffered and died in his stead, and 
that through this passion and death there is a way made 
to the holiest ; and that God, though infinitely just, can 
justify and save all them who believe in Christ as cru- 

A DISCOURSE ON I. COR. I 22 — 24. 237 

cified for them, and risen again for their justification ; 
and that this is the only Way in which God will save 
man, make him happy here, and glorious to eternity. 

2. But the representatives of the Greeks, which I 
have particularly in view, and who, above all others, 
affect to seek after wisdom, boldly assert that in the 
gospel scheme, as we take it, there is no wisdom ; it is 
not only foolishness, but point blank injustice and cru- 
elty, to cause an innocent person to suffer for the guilty. 
However this may appear to them, God has most posi- 
tively declared it in that revelation which they cannot 
confute. A revelation that bears his image and like- 
ness, and the authenticity of which he is daily sealing 
by fulfilling those promises which have God's yea, and 
are Amen in him. 

The preaching of Christ, as " dying, the just for the 
unjust," is that alone which God blesses yearly to the 
salvation of myriads ; and this doctrine, and none other, 
does he ever bless to the conversion and salvation of 
sinners. And we, who preach Christ crucified, defy 
these wise Greeks to show that God ever blesses the 
preaching of the contrary doctrine. By this alone are 
the drunkards, liars, sabbath-breakers, unclean, dishonest, 
and wicked of every class, converted from the error of 
their ways. By this preaching, those who were pests of 
society, and a scandal to man; have become honest, 
upright, decent, orderly, industrious, holy, and useful. 
In preaching to the heathen, this is the only doctrine by 
which they are affected, enlightened, changed, civilized ; 
and the brute or savage, changed into a man, answers 
the end of his being, and becomes a blessing to his 
fellows. If this be foolishness, it is that " foolishness 
of God which is wiser than man." It is that foolish- 
ness by which men become wise unto salvation; and 
while they learn an important creed, feel a deep and 

l 2 



most beneficial change. A change which proves God is 
in his work ; for neither man nor angel can cause such 
to differ so essentially from their former selves. 

3. Several wise and benevolent Greeks of this descrip- 
tion have attempted to convert the heathen, and espe- 
cially the Indians of North America, by teaching them 
the arts of civilization. Satan, and the corrupt untract- 
able spirit of man, laugh all such endeavours to scorn. 
The savage can be civilized only by the gospel ; and true 
religion and civilization always go hand in hand. 

4. Again, such Greeks as the above lay the utmost 
stress on human learning ; nothing can be done without 
this, and, provided it be a learned ministry, no attention 
is paid to its usefulness. By their leave, learning neither 
opens the eyes of the blind, nor converts souls. Even 
among ministers, we do not always find that the most 
learned are either the most holy or the most useful. 
Learning is good and useful in its place, if it be used 
only as a handmaid to religion ; but it never did, and 
never can, convert a soul. In this respect, also, the 
gospel of Jesus, fully and faithfully preached, is the 
" power and wisdom of God" to the salvation of all them 
that believe. Notwithstanding the contradiction of the 
obstinate and hardened Jews, and the ridicule of the 
proud and self-sufficient Greeks, we must proceed, as we 
have done, to preach Christ crucified ; as this is made to 
all that obey the call, the power of God, and the wisdom 
of God. 

Therefore, — 

Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins 
in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests 
unto God and his Father ; to him be glory and dominion 
for ever and ever. Amen. 



Hebrews ix. 13, 14. 

13. " For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an 
heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the 

14. " How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through 
the Eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your 
conscience from dead works, to serve the living God 1" 

There are certain ordinances of the Mosaic law to 
which the apostle refers here, which should he noticed 
and explained, before we can see the force of his reason- 
ing, and the truth of his conclusion. 

I. The sacrificial offerings of bulls and goats. 

II. What is called the ordinance of the red heifer 

I. When God chose the Israelites to he a peculiar 
people, and to make them depositaries of his laws, which 
contained a revelation of his will, and, at least, a typical 
representation of what was, in his determination, neces- 
sary to he done, in order to save the souls of men ; he 
instituted living sacrifices of various kinds, which were 
to be of clean animals of a certain age, and the most 
perfect of their respective kinds ; and being brought by 
the offerer to the altar or place of sacrifice, who, after 
confessing his sins, his hands being laid on the head of 


the victim, he delivered them to the priests, who slew 
and poured out their life-blood before the Lord; and, 
sprinkling part of it on the altar, the act was considered 
an atonement for the sin of the owner ; and showed that, 
as he had forfeited his life by having sinned against 
God, the merciful Judge had accepted the life of the 
animal instead of his ; and that, by the sprinkling of a 
part of the blood upon himself, he should consider him- 
self dedicated to God ; and he should afterwards walk 
in newness of life, having due respect to all the com- 
mandments of his Creator. 

The most usual victims were the cow, the goat, and 
the sheep, with their young — calves, kids, and lambs. 
These three kinds may be considered as comprised here 
under the general terms of bulls or calves, and goats ; 
though in many instances the kid, the lamb, and the 
steer are mentioned as the proper victims in specified 

II. The ordinance of the red heifer was both singular 
and curious, and was intended, no doubt, to typify the 
sacrifice of our blessed Lord ; and was probably chosen 
in opposition to an idolatrous superstition of the Egyp- 
tians. In this ordinance several curious particulars may 
be observed : — 

1. Though males were generally preferred for sacrifice, 
yet here a female is ordered, in opposition to the Egyp- 
tian superstition, which held cows sacred; for they 
actually worshipped their great goddess Ibis under this 

2. It was a red heifer ; for red bulls were, by the 
Egyptians, sacrificed to appease the evil demon Typhon, 
worshipped among them. 

3. This heifer was to be without spot, not only being 
sound, and without any natural blemish, but without 
any mixture of colour ; for among the Egyptians, if there 

A DISCOURSE ON HEB. IX. 13, 14. 241 

were a single hair either white or Mack found on the 
animal, the sacrifice was marred. The spot in the text 
may refer to the colour ; the blemish, to any bodily im- 
perfection in the animal. 

4. It was to be one on which never yoke came. Be- 
cause any animal which had been used for any common 
purpose was, by universal consent, deemed unworthy 
and improper to be offered in sacrifice to God ; for not 
only the Hebrews, but the Egyptians, Greeks, and Ro- 
mans forbade the sacrifice of any kine that had been 
used for agricultural purposes. The Egyptians borrowed 
their notions of sacrifice from the patriarchs ; the Greeks 
from them ; the Romans from the Greeks ; but the He- 
brews had theirs immediately from God. No wonder, 
therefore, that there is a striking similarity in the reli- 
gious rites of all those nations. 

5. The heifer was to be slain, and her blood sprinkled 
seven times before the tabernacle by the priest. 

6. The body, with all the intestines and their contents, 
the skin, blood, &c, were to be reduced to ashes, and 
while burning, cedar-wood, hyssop, and scarlet were to 
be thrown into the flame. 

7 These ashes were to be carefully collected, and kept 
in a clean place, at a distance from the camp, for general 

8. If any person had contracted any legal uncleanness, 
by touching the dead, or touching a person who had 
been murdered, or a human bone, or a grave, some of 
these ashes were to be mixed with water, and sprinkled 
on the unclean person; who, after having been thus 
sprinkled, and his clothes and body afterwards washed, 
was considered as clean — might not only mingle with 
society at large, but was fit to take part in any religious 

9. The water in which those ashes were mixed was 


called the .water of purifying ; and as the ashes were 
carefully preserved, there was always at hand a mode of 
purifying the unclean ; and the preparation itself appears 
to have been looked on as a concentration of the essential 
properties of the red heifer, considered, as it should be, 
a real sin-offering; and to this mode of purifying the 
people might continually resort, with comparatively 
little expense, little trouble, and almost no loss of time : 
and as there were many things by which legal pollution 
might be contracted, it was necessary to have always at 
hand, in all their dwellings, a mode of purifying at once 
convenient and unexpensive. And we learn from the 
text, that these ashes, mingled with water, and sprinkled 
on the unclean, and which sanctified to the purification 
of the flesh, were intended to typify the blood of Christ, 
" which purges the conscience from dead works, to serve 
the living God ;" for as without this sprinkling with the 
water of the sin-offering, the Levites were not fit to 
serve God in the wilderness, so, without the sprinkling 
of the blood of Christ, no conscience can be purged from 
dead works to serve the living God. See the whole 
ordinance concerning the red heifer, Numb. xix. 1 — 22. 
See also Numb. viii. 6, 7, where this water is called 
nxian -q mey ckataatk, " water of sin," or " water of the 
sin-offering ;" showing that the red heifer was considered 
a real sin-offering; and compare the text with 1 Pet. 
i. 19, where, in reference to this ordinance, the redemp- 
tion of the soul is referred to the precious blood of 
Christ, who, as a Lamb without blemish and without 
spot, had offered himself unto God, and entered in "once 
into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption 
for men." And see Lev. xvi. 14 — 16, where the blood 
of bulls and of goats is represented, not only as " sprink- 
ling the unclean to the purifying of the flesh," but also 
as being an atonement for the sins and transgressions of 

A DISCOURSE ON HEB. IX. 13, 14. 243 

the people ; which places sufficiently vindicate the as- 
sertion of the apostle in the text. 

Having thus considered the Mosaic ordinances to 
which the apostle refers in the text, and shown that 
what he says of and attributes to them is a fair repre- 
sentation of what was intended by them in their original 
institution ; I come now to consider his argument, viz., 
" If the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of a 
heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifica- 
tion of the flesh; how much more shall the blood of 
Christ, who, through the Eternal Spirit, offered himself 
without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead 
works to serve the living God?" with which we must 
collate what is said chap. x. 4 : " For it is not possible 
that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away 
«ins." However these sacrifices and ceremonies, accord- 
ing to legal institution, might sanctify to the purifying 
of the flesh, they could neither take away the guilt of sin, 
nor cleanse the soul from unrighteousness. 

From the whole we learn that there are two subjects 
referred to here, which appear to engross the principal 
attention of men : — 

1. One of these we hear of pretty generally, and 
always see. 

2. The other is often a subject of discussion, but is 
very seldom seen. 

3. The former is with difficulty denned; and, as it 
seems to subsist simply as a negation, can only be defined 
in reference to its effects. 

4. The latter is a positive quality, and may be defined 
in itself, from its tendency. 

5. The first is a poison which infects the whole human 

6. The last is the antidote to that poison ; and, though 
often exhibited, is seldom applied. 



7. The first is sin ; the second, salvation from it. 

8. As the first is everywhere seen, and the last, hut 
seldom, it is to be inferred, that the first predominates, 
and that the last has but a limited and partial sway. 

Let us endeavour to examine these two subjects. 

Sin has been variously defined; not in reference to 
itself, as a principle, but as a negative quality ; yet pro- 
ducing positive effects, demonstrative of its qualities, and 
the necessary results of its agency. 

Salvation is defined as a positive quality, producing 
eifects which are fairly deducible from its nature and 
origin ; which effects prove its benign agency. 

The definition of the first is four-fold : — 

] st. Any want of conformity to the nature and will of 
God; or, 

2nd. It is the transgression of the law of God ; or, 

3rd. It is to be defined from the terms used to express 
it in the Old and New Testaments ; in the Old, ntan 
chatah, in the New, d/Mipria ; both derived from roots 
that signify " to miss the mark ;" or, 

4th. According to Plato, sin is something both devoid 
of number and measure ; in opposition to virtue, which 
he made to consist in harmony or musical numbers. 

Let us examine each of these definitions. 

1. The first definition, "want of conformity to the 
will and nature of God," cannot stand ; for a stone or 
tree, though both perfect in their kinds, are not in con- 
formity to the moral perfections of God. But if the 
definition be restrained to intelligent beings, endued with 
free agency, created under a particular law, with powers 
adequate to its enactments, which powers they have in 
their free agency abused ; the definition may stand in 
reference to the angels who kept not their first estate ; 
and to our first parents in Paradise, who abused theirs, 
and fell off from their allegiance to God : these, being 

A DISCOURSE ON HEB. IX. 13, 14. 245 

partakers of the divine nature, had no written law, 
hut the nature and will of God, well understood and 
expressed, whether intuitively, or by an oracular voice. 

2. The second is taken from the Holy Scriptures 
themselves; for thus saith St. John (1 Epist. iii. 4), 
" "Whosoever committeth sin, transgresseth also the law ; 
for sin is the transgression of the law." But even this 
refers to the effect of the principle of sin, or the sinful 
disposition in uncontrolled agency, as to that immediate 
act ; for the law of God having forbidden all kinds of 
sin, i. e., acts, mental or external, which are contrary to 
God's holiness and authority, he that acts contrary to 
-this law shows by the transgression that he possesses 
the unholy and rebellious disposition ; which is what we 
generally mean by the term sin. The man has trans- 
gressed the law ; sin has led him to do so. 

Now sin, being the transgression of the law, in the 
ordinary use of the term, supposes a previously existing 
and published law, consequently a law well known; 
this applies to divine revelation, by which actions are 
weighed : the transgressions, therefore, of this law are 
without excuse, because this law, in its promises and pe- 
nalties, has been published, and given to all as a rule of 
life, and is acknowledged by all to be holy, just, and 
good — a pure law, suited to such a being as was made 
in the image and likeness of God. 

3. The third definition, taken from those terms in the 
Old and New Testaments which we translate sin; viz., 
nun chatak, and upapna, signify to take a wrong aim, to 
miss the mark, as in shooting or slinging. So the seven 
hundred left-handed Benjamite archers, every one of 
whom could sling stones at a hair's breadth, and not miss, 
Judg. xx. 16. To miss the mark in aiming at happi- 
ness, Job v. 24, " Thou shalt visit thy habitation, and 
shalt not sin ;" i. e., err, miss of enjoyment, but shalt 


find thyself happy in the comforts of life. Thus the 
Hebrew word ; and so nearly allied are the disease and 
the remedy, that nKton chaiaath signifies a sin-offering, an 
atonement for sin. 

The Greek word apapna, sin, from hfiaprava), com- 
pounded of a, negative, and fiapirrta, to hit the mark, is 
the same in meaning as the Hebrew ; and the same re- 
mark may apply to this word, aslo that above ; for frpapria 
not only signifies sin, but also a sin-offering, and is so 
used in numerous places in the Septuagint. It may, 
therefore, be truly said, that sin causes men to miss the 
mark of true happiness ; for all deviations from the law 
of God, prompted by the desire of the flesh, the desire 
of the eye, and the pride of life, in search of that happi- 
ness which is supposed to be found in sensual gratifi- 
cations, are a palpable missing of the mark in reference 
to the attainment of true happiness, which is found only 
in the possession and enjoyment of the Divine favour, 
from which their passions continually both lead and 
drive them. 

4. The fourth definition is very singular, viz., " Sin is 
that which is without number and without measure." 
This gives a strong meaning, which we might express by 
these two terms — it is that which is discordant, and that 
which is extravagant. It is bounded by no measure ; it 
is a whole system of discords without concords; it is 
noise without harmony. It possesses nothing like regular 
progression, as numbers do ; nor can be brought by any 
collocation of units or acts, to express what is even or 
regular. It runs out into all extravagant actions, 
without right direction or proper object ; it is confusion 
in itself, and leads to and begets confusion ; it breaks es- 
tablished order, and exists in fragments, without arrange- 
ment, definable form, or possible component parts ; and 
as it is without order or possible composition, so is it 

A DISCOURSE ON HEB. IX. 13, 14. 247 

without harmony, melody, or cadence. It is worse thai 
the poetic chaos, which had the principles of all things 
without arrangement ; nothing assorted, nor as yet assort- 
able — 

Non bene junctarum discordia semina rerum. 

It is darkness and confusion, opposition and misrule : 
it is a congeries of harsh, horrid, ear-breaking, stridulous 
sounds, — 

Bombalia, clangor, stridor, taratartara, murmur. 

In short, to sum up with the Greek philosopher, " It 
is that which is without number, and without measure." 
And even this is not its worst; it is the disorder and 
curse of creation, the disgrace of the body, the ruin of 
the soul, and the eternal perdition of both. 

Sin is a want of conformity to God — the transgression 
of the law— the erring aim that ever misses the mark of 
public utility and private happiness — the numberless dis- 
order and the incommensurable confusion of inexpressi- 
ble length, breadth, and thickness ; it is the pit of the 
bottomless pit, and the torment that has there its ever- 
during reign. 

But leaving all definitions of the thing, let us look into 
that published law, the revelation of God, which refers 
to the nature of sin, the extent of its devastations, and 
its fearful consequences. 

Let us hear it speak : " Cursed is every one that con- 
tinueth not in all things that are written in the book of 
the law, to do them." Let us hear its declaration of its 
nature : " The carnal mind is not subject to the law of 
God, neither indeed can be." Let us hear it point out 
its devastations : " The whole world lieth in wicked- 
ness," and, " The wrath of God is revealed from heaven 
against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men." 


And the termination is, " The wicked shall be turned 
into hell, 'with all that forget God." There "their 
worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." 

But cannot man raise himself out of this ruinous state ? 
No, for he is fallen — fallen from God, and has lost that 
image of God — righteousness and true holiness, in which 
he was created. In consequence, his wickedness became 
great in the earth ; he filled it with violence ; " for every 
imagination of his heart was only evil continually." But 
had he no redeeming quality, as the slang of novelists 
is ? No : there is no such power inherent in the human 
soul. All is darkness, insensibility, and opposition to 
God and goodness; he is totally indisposed to every 
good purpose, and incapable of every good work. He 
has sinned, and can neither undo what is done, nor make 
an atonement for the past. He is in a word guilty and 
sinful ; yea, sold under sin. 

But if man be thus totally fallen, sinful, and help- 
! ess, How can he be judged ? How can he possibly be 
tewed ? 

The first question may be answered in a few words : 
though man in his fall lost all his spiritual light, power, 
and life; yet to make him accountable for his own 
actions, and to bring him into a salvable state, a measure 
of divine light has been supernaturally restored by him 
who is " the true Light, lightening every man that 
cometh into the world ;" and this light shows him his 
ruined state, and points out him, through whom salvation 
comes. So fallen is human nature, that without this 
Supernatural light, none could be considered in a sal- 
vable state. This light, uniting with the light of divine 
revelation, points out the salvation of which I have 
spoken ; and that salvation comes by the person called 
Christ, or the Messiah, in the text. 

But who is he of whom such great and wonderful 

A DISCOURSE ON HEB. IX. 13, 14. 249 

things are spoken ? He is no less than God manifested 
in the flesh ! This is a most extraordinary case, into 
which even the angels desire to look. God might 
have been manifested in and through an angel, as he 
was in the patriarchal times. An angelic nature, pure 
and holy, could be no disparagement to God ; for that 
spotless nature proceeded from himself. God might have 
been manifested in the Jewish tabernacle ; that was a 
wooden portable temple, where a symbol of the divine 
presence was evident ; for there could be nothing morally 
impure in the innocent timbers and boards of which it 
Avas constructed ; but for God to have been manifested 
in the flesh — in that human nature that had fallen from, 
and rebelled against the Almighty Sovereign, was the 
most extreme of all cases, and the most extraordinary of 
all wonders and miracles ! Yet such a manifestation 
God found necessary ; for although the rites and sacri- 
fices already explained were instituted by God himself, 
yet he intended them to be considered as types ; for he 
ever showed that " it was not possible that the blood of 
bulls and goats should take away sin;" and hence a 
body, human nature, was prepared for this Christ, when 
the time came that sacrifice, offering, and burnt-offering, 
and sacrifice for sin should cease, as things in which 
God had never delighted ; and that he, in whom God 
was well pleased, should be born of a woman, and be 
made in the likeness of man ; and that in that man all 
the fulness of the Godhead bodily might dwell. 

But human nature, free from the infection of sin, 
must be provided ; and how could such a corrupt source 
produce what is pure and holy ? The Psalmist answers, 
" A body hast thou prepared me." The body was pro- 
duced by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a spotless 
virgin ; the body came from God — not from man — it 
was God's preparation, there was no human act in refer- 


ence to generation ; the creative energy of the Divine 
Spirit alone was that which was employed; on this 
point the prophets and evangelists are express ; they 
declare this as a fact ; and evidently with a design that 
faith might receive this fact in the fullest assurance ; and 
a body thus produced was a shrine more worthy of the 
indwelling of God than either tabernacle or temple, how 
glorious soever they might have been ; and more suited 
to the sacrificial offering that was to be made, than any 
angelic nature could be, how pure soever that nature 
might be ; for it was in human nature, not in the angelic 
nature, that the offence was committed and sin con- 
tracted. " Let," says reason, " human nature suffer, for 
it alone has sinned." But human nature, in its ordinary 
state, could not suffer in an expiatory manner, because 
it is corrupt, sinful, and under the curse; hence the 
necessity of a pure human nature, pleasing to God, 
because pure and innocent, and dignified ineffably in all 
its actions and sufferings by its union with the divine 
nature. Mr. Burkitt's saying on this subject can never 
be too often repeated : " Jesus Christ was man, that he 
might have blood to shed ; and he was God, that when 
the blood was shed it might be of infinite value." 

As in the wisdom of God, the time of this manifes- 
tation was fixed, to bring about the great design ; in the 
interim, God gave what is called the Old Covenant or 
Mosaic Covenant. This word is not generally understood, 
and has been often badly applied. Covenant, from two 
Latin words, con, together, and venir, to come — signifies 
an agreement between two parties, who were either un- 
known previously to each other, or were in a state of 
hostility or alienation ; and by what is called a covenant 
they are brought together, and bound by mutual con- 
ditions to keep the agreement inviolate ; and generally, in 
very solemn and important cases, a sacrifice was offered 

A DISCOURSE ON HEB. IX. 13, 14. 251 

on the occasion, which being equally divided asunder, 
and the two halves laid opposite to each other, the con- 
tracting parties, entering at each end of the divided 
victim, and meeting in the centre, took the covenant 
oath, swearing to be true and faithful to the contract 
then made ; and intimating that he who should first 
break any of the conditions of the covenant, would 
deserve to be slain and cut to pieces, as the victim had 

The covenant between God and the Hebrews, though 
including many most solemn and excellent things, was 
summarily expressed in a few words : on the part of Je- 
hovah, " I will be thy God ;" on the part of the Israel- 
ites, " "We will be thy people." 

In a covenant, the following things were chiefly to be 
considered: 1. The contracting parties, who expressed 
perfect willingness to enter into the contract. 2. The 
conditions or terms of the covenant to which all agreed. 

3. The victim that was to be slain on the occasion. 

4. The Mediator of the covenant, whose business it was, 
1. To witness the terms of the agreement ; 2. To slay 
the victim ; and 3. To sprinkle the contracting parties 
with the blood. The victim was slain then and there — 
his life's blood was poured out, and that blood caught by 
the mediator, was that which was sprinkled by him on 
the contracting parties. But where the covenant was 
made between God and the people, the blood was 
sprinkled on the altar and on the people ; the altar being 
the representative of the omnipresent but invisible God. 

The mediator was often a priest ; Jesus is called, not 
only a priest, but also a Mediator ; and in the covenant 
of redemption he is the Sacrifice, for he offered himself, 
and was at once both Priest and Sacrifice. But in the 
context the Holy Spirit is represented as the Mediator ; 
and the text says, " Christ through the eternal Spirit 


offered himself without spot to God," ver. 4. It is the 
office of the Holy Spirit to witness to the conscience of 
man the covenant and its conditions — to apply the blood 
of sprinkling, and to take -the things that are Christ's, and 
show them to men ; and it is his province to witness to 
the heart of the believing penitent, that by this shed 
blood, his " conscience is purged from dead works to 
serve the living God." He is also the sanctifying Spirit, 
the Spirit of judgment, and the Spirit of burning ; and 
as such he condemns to utter destruction the whole of 
the carnal mind, and " purines the very thoughts of the 
heart by his inspiration," enabling the true believer 
"perfectly to love God, and worthily to magnify his 
holy name ;" and this same Spirit, dwelling in the soul 
of a believer, seals him an heir of eternal glory. 

From what has already been observed, we see what 
the blood of bulls and goats, and the sprinkling of the 
ashes of a heifer, could not do in reference to religion 
and salvation. 

1. "They sanctified to the purifying of the flesh." 
They rendered the persons legally clean that were before 
legally unclean or defiled; that is, those who had touched 
a dead body, or even any bone of a dead body, and were 
thereby unqualified to use any religious ceremony, or 
join in the public worship of God ; — such persons, after 
offering the appointed sacrifices, and receiving the asper- 
sion of the ashes of the burnt heifer, mixed with water, 
were then considered to be sanctified, that is, consecrated 
afresh to God and his service ; — but though by getting 
the privilege of using the means of grace, they were 
placed in the way of moral improvement and salvation, 
yet no moral change was made in their minds, no sin 
blotted out, no holiness imparted, by those ceremonies. 
They only " sanctified to the purification of the flesh ;" 
from them the soul received no benefit. 

A DISCOURSE ON HEB. IX. 13, 14. 253 

2ndly. Let us consider what those sacrifices and sprink- 
lings could do. They were types of better things than 
themselves. They pointed out the true and available 
sacrifice, that makes atonement for sin ; that blood shed, 
without which there is no remission, and that sprinkling 
of the blood of Jesus, by which the conscience is purged 
from dead works. This is all they either did or could 
do. All referred either to the purifying of the flesh, 
or the pointing out of the Lamb of God slain from the 
foundation of the world, and who taketh away the sin 
of the world. 

And is there any outward thing, any sacrifice, offering, 
washing, sprinkling, rite, duty, ceremony, religious per- 
formance, fasting, abstinence, attrition, contrition, alms, 
or pilgrimages, that can do more ? In a certain way, 
they may sanctify to the purifying of the flesh, but 
nothing more ; nothing can pardon but the mercy which 
flows freely through the blood of the cross ; nothing can 
purify but the mighty Spirit of God, which comes through 
the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 
Other refuge for the miserable — other name as the ob- 
ject of faith — other sacrifice as an atonement for sin — 
other help or saviour is not found in the heavens above, 
in the earth beneath, nor in the waters under the earth. 
Through this, and this alone, God can be just, and yet 
the Justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. 

The sum of the whole is, 1. That the blood of bulls 
and goats could not take away sin. 

2. That it required the incarnation of Christ, and his 
sacrificial offering, to take away the guilt of sin, and re- 
concile us to God. 

3. That what was procured by his offering, viz., pardon, 
holiness, and, in a word, complete salvation, must be ap- 
plied, not to the body, but to the heart and conscience. 

4. That this application can be made by the eternal 


Spirit only.; there being no substitute. None can come 
to the Father but through the Son, by the eternal Spirit 

5. That the pure in heart only can see God ; and as 
the blood of Jesus cleanseth from all unrighteousness, so 
the Spirit alone can apply the cleansing efficacy of this 

6. We see from the text, that God the Father — Christ 
the Saviour — and the Eternal Spirit the Sanctifier, act 
together in this work of salvation : and so important and 
so difficult is it, that it requires the holy, blessed, undi- 
vided, and glorious Trinity to effect it ; for thus the 
apostle, " How much more shall the blood of CHRIST, 
who through the Eternal SPIRIT offered himself with- 
out spot to GOD, purge your consciences from dead 
works to serve the living God ?" 

But shall we do as too many do, admire the goodness 
of God in providing a Saviour for them, and yet continue 
unsaved ? They trust in what Christ has done for them, 
but seem comparatively unconcerned about what Christ 
is to do in them. This is the common bane of multi- 
tudes who hesitate not to rank themselves among reli- 
gious people. No minister can be too earnest in warning 
his flock against this common error, which is very nearly 
allied to another error, not improperly called a death-bed 
purgatory : they vainly hope to receive in death what 
they neither looked for nor expected in life, viz., a 
sanctified nature, a heart purified from all unrighteous- 
ness. Even their state of grace is problematical, though 
they have often prayed to be pardoned, yet they have 
not looked for pardon ; probably never felt the pangs of 
a guilty conscience, nor the plague of their own hearts. 
Though they have, no doubt, repeatedly felt smart twing- 
ings in their conscience, they have endeavoured to quiet 
them with a few such aspirations as these, " Lord, have 
mercy upon me. Lord, forgive me, and lay not this sin 

A DISCOURSE ON HEB. IX. 13, 14. 255 

to my charge, for Christ's sake !" Thus, of the work of 
repentance they know little — they have not suffered their 
pangs of conscience to form themselves into true repent- 
ance — a deep conviction of their lost and ruined state 
both by nature and practice — conviction of sin, and con- 
trition for sin, have only had a superficial influence upon 
their hearts. Their, repentance is not a deep and radical 
work ; they have not suffered themselves to be led into 
the various chambers of the house of imagery, to detect 
the hidden abominations that have everywhere been set 
up against the honour of God, and the safety of their 
own souls : when they have felt a little smarting from a 
wound of sin, they have got it slightly healed ; and their 
repentance is that of which they may repent, it was par- 
tial and inefficient ; and its end proves this. They have 
not, through the excess of sorrow for sin, fled to lay hold 
on the hope set before them; and refused to be com- 
forted, till they felt that word powerfully spoken into 
their hearts, " Son ! daughter ! be of good cheer, thy 
sins are forgiven thee." No man should consider his 
repentance as having answered a saving end to his soul, 
till he feels that God for Christ's sake has forgiven him 
his sins ; and the Spirit of God testifies with his Spirit 
that he is a child of God. Those who by their preach- 
ing cause the people to rest short of this, and to be satis- 
fied with such a problematic repentance and conversion, 
are healing the hurt of the people slightly ; and crying, 
" Peace ! peace !" where God has not spoken peace. All 
the advantage that such people have under such preach- 
ing, is, at best, no better to them than " the blood of bulls 
and of goats, and the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer." 
They have not had the work of repentance, nor the 
work of faith, nor the patience of hope, and consequently 
are not able to perform to Gob or man the labour of 
love. "Their consciences are not purged from dead 


works;" and therefore they cannot by a loving obedi- 
ence " serve the living God." 

Reader, learn that true repentance is a work, and not 
the work of an hour : it is not a passing regret, but a 
deep and alarming conviction, that thou art a fallen 
spirit, hast broken God's laws, art under his curse, and 
in danger of hell fire. Think also that the grave may 
be ready for thee ; that here thou hast no continuing 
city, that now is the accepted time, and now is the day 
of salvation. Now, God waits to be gracious to thee, 
to grant thee repentance unto life, to blot out thy sins, 
and give thee an assurance of his love : and in that day 
thou Avilt praise him ; for though he was angry with 
thee, his anger is turned away, for lo, he comforteth 
thee. Henceforth thou mayest draw with joy Mater out 
of the wells of salvation. And if thou follow on to know 
the Lord, thou wilt soon find, in addition to the pardon 
thou hast received, that the blood of Jesus Christ cleans- 
eth thee from all sin. Thus, thou wilt magnify God, 
for the work that Christ has wrought in thee, as well as 
for that which he has wrought for thee. 

And now remember for what end God has purged thy 
conscience from dead works, — works which procured 
not the life but the death of the soul. It is, that thou 
mayest serve the living God. The phrase veicpa. epya, 
dead works, is only used here and in chap. vi. 1 : it refers 
to those dead things by which legal defilement was con- 
tracted ; and in both the above places, it seems to be in- 
tended by the apostle, to point out such works as deserve 
death, the works of those who are dead in trespasses, and 
dead in sins, and dead by sentence of the law, because 
they had by these works broken the law. The con- 
science being purged from dead works, signifies the for- 
giveness of all those sins, the sentence of death reversed, 
and the spirit of life imparted, so that they might, having 

X DISCOURSE ON HEB. IX. 18, 14. 257 

this life from the dead, and this inward spirit of life, 
serve the living God : the living God requires a living 
service, performed according to the light of God, and ac- 
cording to that measure of his love shed abroad in their 
hearts by the Holy Ghost. The experience of such is 
beautifully sung by the poet : 

" New light new love, new love new life hath bred ; 

A life that lives by love, and loves by light : 

A love to Him, to whom all loves are wed ; 

A light to which the sunne is dark as night : 

Eye's light, heart's love, soul's only life He is : 

Life, soul, love, heart, light, eye, and all, are his : 

He eye, light,- heart, love, soul; He all my joy and blisse ! 

Fletcher's Purple Island : Canto I. stanza 7. 

Heathens offered sacrifices, made vows, did services, 
and expected rewards from dead gods, idols of stone, 
wood, metal, clay, &c. : gods who had ears, but could 
not hear; eyes, but could not see; tongues, but could not 
speak — wholly inanimate, and at best, only representa- 
tions of dead men, or of non- entities, or of devils. 
Stones, trees, fountains, rivers, woods, mountains, the 
sun, moon, planets, and stars, were objects of worship 
among the nations of the earth ; and into this absurd 
worship of dead things the Jews frequently relapsed, 
and followed the abominations of the heathens. The 
apostle here shows what the true worship is : its object 
is the true and living God ; its grand rite is the true sa- 
crifice, the passion and death of the Lord Jesus. It is 
performed by the influence of the Eternal Spirit ; and 
its end is the purgation of the conscience from the stains 
contracted by the dead works above mentioned; and 
the purification of the heart, that the living God might 
have a living service; and that those who thus served 
him might have spiritual life in the work; and this is 
agreeable to the exhortation of the apostle to the Romans, 


chap. xii. ^1 : "I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of 
God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, 
acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." 
Such a service is as rational as it is divine. The living 
only can show forth the praise of, and render service to, 
the living God, And the true worshipper lives by his 
religious service ; for, by these things do men live ; and 
in all these, is the life of the spirit ; and this is agreeable 
to the gracious declaration of God himself, " Your 
hearts shall live who seek the Lord," Ps. lxix. 32, Amos 
v. 4. " I live," says the apostle ; " yet not I, but Christ 
liveth in me ; and the life that I now live, I live by 
the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave 
himself for me," Gal. ii. 20. The true believer lives to 
his God ; and genuine Christianity is the life of God 
in the soul of man : and because Christ died for man 
and rose again, therefore, " they which live should not 
live unto themselves, but unto him who died for them, 
and rose again," 2 Cor. v. 15. And true Christians 
can say, " Whether we live, we live unto the Lord ; and 
whether we die, we die unto the Lord : whether we live, 
therefore, or die, we are the Lord's," Rom. xiv. 8. Nothing 
can be more high, nothing more noble, nothing more 
glorious, than this calling : well may those who have 
got into it, " heartily thank their heavenly Father, that 
he hath called them into this state of salvatIon through 
Jesus Christ their Saviour ; and pray to God to give 
them grace that they may continue in the same unto 
their life's end." 

From all this we learn, that a genuine Christian has 
a right creed and a right conduct. That he hears, that 
he may learn ; that he learns, that he may believe ; that 
he believes, in order to be saved ; that he receives salva- 
tion, in order that he may show forth the virtues of him 
who has called him from darkness into his marvellous 

A DISCOURSE ON HEB. IX. 13, 14. 259 

light : and that he walks in the light, bringing forth the 
fruits of righteousness unto the glory and praise of God, 
that he may be prepared for the kingdom of glory ; and, 
having overcome all enemies and all difficulties, through 
the blood of the Lamb, he may sit down with Christ on 
his throne, as he, having overcome, is sat down with 
the Father on the Father's throne. May this be the 
happy lot of every reader, for Christ's sake ! Amen, so 
be it, Lord Jesus ! 




Proverbs xxx. 1 — 9. 

1 — 6. " The words of Agur, the son of Jakeh, &c. 

7. " Two things have I required of thee ; deny me them not be- 
fore I die : 

8. " Remove far from me vanity and lies ; give me neither poverty 
nor riches : feed me with food convenient for me : 

9. " Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord ? or 
lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain" 

I shall first consider the short history which Agur 
gives of himself : secondly, his discourse concerning God 
and his word : and thirdly, examine his prayer, and the 
import of the different parts. 

I. The history which Agur gives of himself. 

This occurs in the first, second, and third verses. 

Yer. 1. "The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, the 
prophecy the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel 
and TJcal." 

The first sentence, " The words of Agur, the son of 
Jakeh," has been supposed to be the title given to the 
succeeding words: so in my old MS. English Bible — 
©|je toortres of tfje getrerer, sone bomgteringe,— and then 
the chapter begins, &J)e bis ion tijat a man spafte, &c. 

Coverdale makes this clause a regular heading to the 
chapter, " The wordes of Agur the sonne of Jake," in his 


Bible, fol., printed 1535 : likewise in the Bible of Tho- 
mas Matthew, printed 1537 — " The wordes of Agur the 
sonne of Jaketh." And nearly the same in Edmund 
Beck's Bible, dedicated to Edward VI., and printed in 
1549, — " The wordes of Agur the sunne of Jakeh :" and 
so in the Syriac Version. But they make a part of the 
first verse in Richard Cardmarden's Bible, printed at 
Rouen, in 1566: and so in King James's Bible, 1611; 
in the Geneva Bible, by Barker, 4to, 1613 ; and in all 
others since that time. 

But the words Agur, Jakeh, Ithiel, and Ucal, have 
been considered by some as proper names; by others, 
who have translated literally, as expressing qualities, or 
descriptive characters. With some, Agur is Solomon; 
and of course, Jakeh, David ; and Ithiel and Ucal, 
epithets of Christ ! Others think that Agur may here 
be considered a rabbin or public teacher ; and Ithiel and 
Ucal, two of his disciples. 

In some of the ancient Versions the words are omit- 
ted ; in others, they are retained, partly as proper names, 
and partly as epithets. The Vulgate only has trans- 
lated all literally, Verba congregantis filii Vomentis : 
viris quam locutus est vir cum quo est Deus, et qui Deo 
secum morante confortatus, ait, " The words of the col- 
lector, the son of the Vomiter : the vision which the 
man spake with whom is God, and who is comforted by 
God dwelling with him, saith." Now this is a meaning 
of the Hebrew : but a very little reflection might have 
given St. Jerome, the translator, to discern, that such a 
translation could never have been intended ; because he 
is obliged to have recourse to allegory and metaphor, in 
order to explain it. The collector (Agur), with him, is 
the preacher of the gospel (the Ecclesiastes, he who calls 
the people together); for the church is termed the assem- 
bly or congregation, Ecclesia : and as the father of this 



collector or Christian minister is called the Yomiter 
(Jakeh), it may refer to David, who, in Ps. xli. 1 (made 
concerning his son Solomon), begins with, " My heart is 
inditing (i. e., belching up) a good matter," &c. The 
Christian minister dwells by communion with God, 
(Ithiel), and God dwells by inspiration with him, giving 
him strength (Ucal) ; without which no man can under- 
stand the spiritual meaning of God's words, but will in- 
terpret them literally, or according to the flesh, &c. Now 
all this has a sIioav of piety, but in the meantime where 
is the true interpretation of the words of God ? Could 
he ever have given a revelation that was to be thus in- 
terpreted ; where the imagination, caprice, prejudice, 
and even the ignorance and nonsense of man may have 
equal right to propose spiritual meanings? The world 
has been long enough amused, and the church of God 
disgraced, by such interpretations ; and religion itself has 
fallen with many into contempt, on this very account. 
No wonder that, on the erection of a certain academical 
building, where all the arts, sciences, ancient languages, 
and even trades were to have their respective professors, 
Christianity was proscribed, " because," said the super- 
ficial directors, " we will have no professor of Chris- 
tianity, till we know what Christianity is!" And yet 
Christianity, taken from the Scriptures themselves, is as 
easily ascertained as the science of geometry is from 
the elements of Euclid. This was thought a fine saying, 
was applauded, and the negative on such a professorship 
carried by acclamation. Poor souls ! how contemptible 
must they have appeared to even a boy in the first forms, 
who had read his Bible with suppose no more attention 
than they were accustomed to peruse the contents of a 
play-bill ! For the present, peace be with such dispas- 
sionate and able judges ! we may meet them again, when 
they venture next into day-light. 


To return : were we to translate every word here, the 
whole might he thus rendered, keeping close enough to 
the letter. 

" The words of the epistle of the obedient son ;" or, 
" the words of the collector the son of Jakeh ; the para- 
ble which the mighty man or hero (-nn hageh&r), 
spake unto him who is God with me : to him who is God 
with me, even the strong God :" or, as my old MS. reads, 
which follows the Vulgate, &f)e bis ton tfjat a man spake, 
but!) tofutf) is <$ol>, antr t!jat <!£otr but!) f)tm tooitfiitg, com= 
fortetr : " or as Coverdale, who is more paraphrastic, "The 
prophecie of a true faithful man, whom God hath helped, 
whom God hath comforted and nourished." 

From this introduction, from the names here used, and 
from the style of this chapter, compared with the other 
parts of the book, it appears evident that Solomon was 
not the author of this prophecy ; and that it was designed 
to be distinguished from his work by this very preface 
by which the difference is clearly marked : nor can the 
words in which the author professes his ignorance, and 
want of instruction in divine mysteries (verses second, 
third, eighth, and ninth) be at all applied to Solomon : 
they suit no part of Solomon's life, nor of his circum- 
stances ; at least previously to his most shameful apos- 
tasy, from which we have no evidence that he was ever 

We must therefore consider, " the words of Agur, son 
of Jakeh," as an appendix or supplement to the preceding 
collection, similar to that which it is said the men of 
Hezekiah, king of Judah, had made. As to the names 
Agur, Jakeh, Ithiel, and Ileal, I take them to be those 
of persons who did really exist, who are nowhere else 
distinctly mentioned in the Scriptures, and of whom we 
know nothing but what is mentioned here. I incline to 
the opinion that Agur was some public teacher ; that 


Ithiel and Ucal were his scholars; and that what he 
delivers to them here was through the spirit of prophecy, 
and was what the prophets generally term kvo massa, 
an oracle, something sent immediately from God for the 
instruction of man. 

This Agur seems strongly to intimate himself, speak- 
ing in relation to what he delivers here : " Surely I am 
more brutish than any man, and have not the under- 
standing of a man," ver. 2. We have made this con- 
cession of Agur unnecessarily strong, wan »33N nj/a o hi 
baar anoki me-ish, " For I am a boor, a rustic unedu- 
cated, when compared with great men and scholars," — 
s b din nn xbi velo binath adam li, "nor is there to me the 
understanding of Adam." I have neither intuitive nor 
acquired knowledge. These words can be in no sense 
true of Solomon ; for while he was the wisest of men, 
he could not have said, as we translate, he was " more 
brutish than any man, and had not the understanding of 
a man :" rather may Agur be supposed to speak here in 
direct reference to Solomon the wise, and Adam the 

It is vain for those who understand by Agur, Solomon, 
to say, that he "was more brutish and senseless than any 
man, independently of divine teaching !" Had he said so, 
even by the slightest inuendo, it might be legitimate ; but 
he does not ; nor is it by fair implication to be understood. 
If he could have been proved to have written this chap- 
ter after his apostasy from God, then indeed he might 
say, he had been " more brutish than any man, and was 
destitute of the understanding of a man ;" but this is 
neither proved nor pretended. Agur might have used 
these words according to the sense I have given them, 
for aught we know : for it is very probable that he was 
a rustic, without any regular education, as was the case 
with the prophet Amos, who tells us that he was not the 


son of a prophet, not brought up in any of their schools, 
but was "one of the herdsmen of Tekoa, and a gatherer 
of sycamore fruit," chap. i. 7 — 14, — but " the Lord took 
him as he was following the flock," ver. 15 ; thus Agur 
intimates that all he knew now was by the inspiration 
of the Almighty, independently of which he was an un- 
educated rustic. Hence, in ver. 3, he says, " I neither 
learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy." 
The prophets and wise men, we know, had public schools, 
and their disciples were called sons of the prophets ; but 
he had never been brought up in these, nor was he ac- 
quainted with any eminent men — those who are pro- 
bably meant here by a s w-ip Jcedoshim, saints, holy per- 

The -Septuagint translates this verse differently " Qe g 
8fdida%£ fiE (7d(piav, Kai yvuxnv ayuov eyvwicct' God hath 
taught me wisdom, and the science of the holy ones I 
have known." This may refer to the patriarchs, pro- 
phets, or holy men, who flourished before the days of 
Solomon ; and these the Septuagint might have had in 
view. My old MS. Bible translates thus : 5 letnefc not 
totsirom, attti 5 feneto tfje fcunngnge of saints. Kunnynge 
signifies science or knowledge. Coverdale paraphrases, 
rather than translates, this and the preceding verses con- 
jointly — " For though I am the least of all, and have no 
man's understandynge (for I never lerned wissdom), yet 
have I understondinges and am wel enfourmed in godly 
thinges." This amounts to what has already been said : 
and to what St. Paul says of himself and his own ac- 
quirements, in order that he might magnify the grace of 
his Lord : " Christ sent me to preach the gospel, not with 
wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made 
of none effect," 1 Cor. i. YJ. " I came to you, not with 
excellency of speech or of wisdom." " We have received 


that we might know the things that are freely given to 
us of God ; which things also we speak, not in the words 
which man s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost 
teacheth," 1 Cor. ii. 1, 12, 13. "For though I be rude in 
speech, yet not in knowledge," 2 Cor. xi. 6 ; as if he had 
said, " Though with you I pass for a rustic, tSKorjje, un- 
lettered man, not adorning my preaching with fine rhe- 
torical touches, yet I speak the wisdom which the Holy 
Spirit of God teaches." This is, in fact, what Agur says 
of himself: " Though I have nothing from man, I have 
much from God." 

And having disclaimed all human teaching and earthly 
advantages, he comes, Secondly, to discourse in the 
highest manner concerning the Divine nature, God's go- 
vernment of the world, and the revelation he has given 
to man. 

And First, he calls upon his hearers to show any man 
who had by human learning, study, or science, found out 
the knowledge of God, his ways, or his works : — 

1. Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended ? 
As if he had said, " I have not the knowledge of the 
holy ones — for how could I acquire it ? Who is he who 
could attain to that ? Have any of you ascended to hea- 
ven, to learn that science ? And who among you has 
descended, in order to publish it ? Is the science of sal- 
vation one of those things which can be apprehended by 
study ? Is it not a free gift of the mercy of God V — 
Moses, after having shown to the people the will of God, 
said : " This commandment which I command thee this 
day, is not hidden from thee ; neither is it far off. It is 
not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up 
for us to heaven, in order to bring it to us, that we may 
hear and do it?" Deut. xxx. 11, 12. "Who hath ga- 
thered the wind in his fists?" It is as difficult for a 
mortal man to acquire this divine science by his own 


reason and strength, as to collect all the winds of heaven 
in his fists ; and who can command the spirit of pro- 
phecy, that he may prophesy when he pleases ? What I 
am about to speak comes from him who is perfect wis- 
dom and unlimited power. He alone hath bound the 
waters in a garment ; -He alone hath established all the 
ends of the earth — What is his name ? what is his son's 
name ? Canst thou tell ? Show me the nature of this 
Supreme Being ! Point out his eternity ; his omni- 
science, omnipotence, and omnipresence ; his mode of 
sustaining and governing all things ! Comprehend and 
describe him if thou canst — he will teach as he pleases ; 
he will teach by whom he pleases. " Out of the mouth 
of babes and sucklings he hath ordained strength." These 
are mysteries which ye cannot unfold — depths which ye 
cannot fathom — heights to which ye cannot ascend. Be 
content to know him as your Instructor, to feel him as 
your Saviour, to adore him as your God and your Pre- 

The words, What is his son's name, some copies of the 
Septuagint translate, rj n ovofia toiq tekvoiq, or what is the 
name of his sons ? But in the commencement of this 
chapter, this ancient Version is all confusion. Many are 
of opinion that Agur. refers here to the first and second 
persons of the ever-blessed Trinity. It may be so : but 
who would rest the proof of that most glorious doctrine 
upon such a text ? — to say nothing of the obscure author, 
of whom we know nothing but what he says here of him- 
self. Though this doctrine be true, sublimely true, yet 
it (like many other sublime doctrines) has suffered much 
in controversy, by having improper or dubious texts urged 
in its favour. Every lover of God and truth should be 
choice in his selections, when he comes before the public 
in behalf of the more mysterious doctrines of the Bible. 
Nothing should be alleged in reference to the point that 

m 3 


is not cleav-nothing that does not pointedly apply. 
The man who is obliged to spend a world of critical la- 
bour to establish the sense in which a text is to be un- 
derstood, which he intends to allege in favour of a doc- 
trine which he designs to support, may rest assured that 
he goes the wrong way to work. Those who injudi- 
ciously or incautiously amass every text of Scripture 
which they think bears upon the subject they defend, 
often give their adversaries great advantage against them. 
We may every day see many a sacred and important doc- 
trine suffer, through the bad judgment of its friends. The 
Godhead of Christ, salvation by faith, the great atoning 
sacrifice, and other essential doctrines of this class, have 
suffered much and are still suffering in this way. When 
the truth is assailed by all kinds of weapons, handled by 
insidious cunning, and powerful foes, its injudicious de- 
fenders may be ranked among its enemies. To such I 
hope without offence, I may say, " Keep your cabins ; 
you do assist the storm." 

2. Agur, having stated that he made no pretensions to 
any extraordinary knowledge, and shown that he had not 
even the advantages of education, and that God could be 
known only by a revelation from himself; proceeds to 
draw the attention of his pupils to one of the essential 
properties of that revelation — the necessity and advan- 
tage of faith in God, and the danger of corrupting his 
words by pretending a divine authority to make additions 
to them; and in stating these things. he shows what care 
and caution he had used in his intercourse with God, to 
report only what he had learned from him ; and that 
therefore the prophecy which he was about to deliver 
might be confidently received as a communication from 
the Most High. 

Every word of God is pure. The original is very em- 
phatic, and should be carefully noticed, vsmt rrbn mo« bs 


kol imroth Eloah tseruphah, " every oracle of God is 
purified ;" a metaphor taken from metals, everything that 
God has pronounced, every law he has enacted, every 
inspiration which the prophets have received, is pure 
truth, without mixture of falsity or error — there is no 
dross in it. It is like pure gold, in which no trial by fire 
can detect any alloy or base mixture; whatever trials 
the truth of God has been exposed to, it always, like gold, 
bears the fire, losing neither weight, nor value, nor splen- 
dour, by its action. This meaning of the original is ex- 
pressed with sententious brevity in my old MS. Bible,, 
<t£cf)t sermon of gootr is firetr, that is, tried, as by fire ; 
men and devils, friends and foes, various circumstances, 
the changes and chances of life; and even the provi- 
dence of God, have contributed to try the truth, fidelity, 
purity, and unfailing nature of the oracles of God. They 
are all yea, all amen ; every word seems to say, " He is 
faithful who has promised, and will also do it." And as 
that word represents God as the Saviour and Protector 
of men, Agur adds on this head what he appears to have 
had immediately by divine inspiration, " He is a shield 
unto them that put their trust in him," which words are 
very emphatic in themselves ; and peculiarly so in some 
Versions and many ancient MSS. which read thus: in- 
stead of wvnb lechosim, to them that trust, they read " he 
is the defence ("in a s D-inb b±> lecol lechosim bo) to all," or 
" to every one of those who trust in him." His faithful 
followers may have many adversaries, but they have no 
cause for fear; for as a shield protects the body from 
shots and thrusts — from the sword and the poisoned 
arrow ; so God protects them from all the fiery darts of 
the wicked one. His truth is their shield and buckler. 
But as it is the shield of faith that quenches all the fiery 
darts, so the defence is promised to them that trust in 


him — to them who take God at his word, knowing that 
he can neither fail nor deceive. 

Man, though considered the lord of the earth, is the 
object of more persecution than any other creature. 
Ever since his fall, that carnal mind which is enmity 
against God excites him to acts of hostility against his 
fellows ; hence the wars and fightings which have swept 
so many millions from the face of the earth. But they 
who live a godly life, according to the Christian system, 
must suffer persecution ; against these the natural en- 
mity takes a more studied and determined aim : hence 
have proceeded all the persecutions which have been 
raised up against the Christian church, and by which so 
many have perished, both in ancient, and even in com- 
paratively modern times. Add to all these that contention 
of which the apostle speaks, Eph. vi. 12, "Against 
angels, principalities, and powers, the rulers of the dark- 
ness of this world, and spiritual wickednesses in high 
places." And* we are warned against the incessant 
attacks of " our adversary the devil, who goes about as a 
roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." These 
make fearful odds against him. Now, all these things 
considered, what need is there of the divine protection ! . 
It is God alone that can shield us from such dangers. 
The power of man is a sorry defence against diabolic 
might ; and his skill and art are straw and stubble against 
Satanic cunning, and the wiles of the devil. In no time, 
place, nor circumstance, is man secure ; and because 
these animals are spiritual, malevolent, and unseen, 
therefore are they the more dangerous. Yet here is a 
promise of sure defence; but the promise is to them 
that trust in him — to all believers. Those who do not 
confide in him are not entitled to protection. Is it not 
strange, when man's circumstances and danger are con- 

A DISCOURSE ON FRO?. XXX. 1 — 9. 271 

sidered, that faith should be so little in action — that it is 
not one of the most popular, so to speak, of all the Chris- 
tian graces ! And is it not one of the wiles of the devil, 
that persuades him that the exercise of this grace is the 
most difficult of all, and in short almost impossible with- 
out a miraculous power ? hence the saying, " We can no 
more believe than we can make a world." It is readily 
granted, that without God we can do nothing ; but as 
he gives us power to discern, to repent, to hope, to love, 
and to obey, so does he give us power to believe — and 
to us the use or exercise of the power belongs. He 
does not discern, repent, hope, love, or obey for us ; no 
more than he believes for us ; — by using the grace he 
gives, we discern, repent, hope, believe, love, and obey. 
Without the grace we can do nothing ; without the care- 
ful use of the grace, the grace profits us nothing. To 
every prescribed duty God furnishes the requisite grace. 
The help is ever at hand, but we are "not workers 
together with him ;" hence we are in general " receiving 
the grace of God' in vain ;" and to excuse our negli- 
gence, indolence, and infidelity, we cry out, "We can 
do nothing !" — " We have no strength !" — " We can no 
more believe than we can make a world !" Our adver- 
sary knows well how to take advantage of such sayings — 
and indeed they are issues of his own temptations; 
therefore it is his business to persuade us that these are 
all incontrovertible truths ! How strange, how disgrace- 
ful is it, that the words of the devil, and the wicked 
words of a lying world, and the antinomian maxims of 
fallen churches, or fallen Christians, should be implicitly 
believed, while the words of the living God are not 
credited ! He commands us to believe— ^reproaches us 
for our unbelief, tells us that if we believe not we shall 
not be established — asserts that he who believes not has 
made God a liar — proclaims salvation by faith — and 


finishes tha confutation of our infidel speeches with, 
"He that helieveth not, shall be damned." Now, all 
this supposes that he gives us the strength, and that we 
do not use it. Whose word so credible as the word of 
God ? and whose word has less credence ? Many are 
volunteers in faith, where there is no promise ; for they 
can believe that we cannot be saved from all sin in this 
life — that we shall be saved in the article of death — and 
that there is a purgatorial middle state, where we may 
be cleansed by penal fire, from vices that the blood of 
Jesus either could not or did not purge ; and that the 
Almighty Spirit of judgment and burning did not or 
could not consume ; and where there are exceeding great 
and precious promises, which in God are yea, and in 
Christ, amen, they can scarcely credit any thing ! How 
abominable is this conduct ! How insulting to God f 
How destructive to the soul ! No wonder that many of 
our old and best writers have declaimed so much against 
this, calling unbelief the damning sin, by way of emi- 
nence, and that which binds all other sins upon the soul. 
Men may treat the word of God as they list, but these 
truths of God shall endure for ever : " He that believeth 
shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned;" 
and, " He is a shield unto all them that put their trust 
in mm. 

To prevent men from making creeds and confessions 
of faith for themselves, ecclesiastical customs, &c, of 
materials which God has not furnished, the prophet 
gives this caution, " Add not thou unto his words, lest 
he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar," ver. 6. The 
wise man may have his metaphor, of gold tried in the 
furnace, still in view ; as if he had said, " You can no 
more add to the value of these words of the Most High 
by any human additions, than you can add to the value 
of gold by mixing other metals with it." He adds to 


God's words who brings in spurious gospels, which 
abounded in the early ages of Christianity ; and they 
who bring in traditions, i. e., things and doctrines which 
have been delivered down from hand to hand, from un- 
known or dubious authority, claiming not only the right 
to give particular illustrations of Scripture or scriptural 
doctrines, so as to bring in peculiar customs, but to 
supersede positive Scripture testimony relative to the 
customs, doctrines, and practice of the primitive church, 
such as purgatory, sacrifices and prayers for the dead, 
invocation of saints and angels, transubstantiation, 
omission of the cup in the Lord's Supper, priestly abso- 
lution, auricular confession, monastic institutions and 
orders, papal vicarage as proceeding from Christ, and 
image-worship, with the long bead-roll of legends which 
pollute the words of God, as they encumber and disgrace 
the churches professing Christianity which hold them. 

Whatever is not plainly enjoined, whether in doctrine 
or practice, in the sacred writings, as essential to or 
forming a part of genuine Christianity, is an addition to 
the words of God, and to be held in universal abhor- 
rence ; for none of these can be produced by plain testi- 
mony or rational deduction, from the Hebrew of the 
Old or the Greek of the New Testament ; therefore no 
opinions, of fathers or doctors, no decisions of popes 
or councils, should be received in reference to the doc- 
trines which a Christian church should hold, or the 
discipline which a Christian church should administer. 
All such things are additions to the words of God, 
which, as a refuge of lies, God will sweep away from 
the face of the earth, as he has already from several 
of the kingdoms and states of Christendom. The wise 
man gives this caution to such churches and people, 
" lest," says he, " he reprove thee, and thou be found a 
liar ;" the allusion to the purification of metals is still 


carried on, — lest he try thy words by fire, as his words 
have been tried ; and it appears that, far from abiding 
the test, the fire shows yours to be reprobate silver ; and 
so thou be found a falsifier of God's word, and a liar. 
How amply has this been fulfilled in the case of the 
Roniish church ! It has added all the gross stuff in the 
Apocrypha, besides innumerable legends and traditions, 
to the words of God. They have been tried by the 
refiner's fire; and this church has been reproved and 
found to be a liar, in attempting to affiliate on the Most 
Holy God spurious writings, alien from the dignity of 
his word, and discreditable to his nature. 

A caution similar to this of Agur may be found in 
the Book of the Apocalypse, chap. xxii. 18, 19 : "I 
testify unto every man who heareth the words of the 
prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these 
things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are 
written in this book. And if any man shall take away 
from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall 
take away his part out of the book of life, and out of 
the holy city, and from the things which are written in 
this Book." These are awful words. If any man, or 
number of men, shall make any addition to the canon 
of Scripture, or give, as the mind of God, any other 
meaning to any portion of his book than that which he 
designs ; on him God will inflict the curses threatened 
in his word : and if he or they take away, cut off books, 
chapters, verses, or words from that book — endeavour to 
lessen their meaning, curtail their sense, or explain away 
the spirit or design of his laws, gospels, commandments, 
or precepts — he shall forfeit all his rights, titles, and 
privileges ; in a word, his hopes and his final salvation ; 
because he has dared to take away from the integrity of 
the revelation of God. Reader, take heed that thou do 
not anything which this word forbids, nor leave undone 


anything that it commands; for this is adding and 
diminishing, according to the use and meaning of such 
words in Scripture. 

III. Having considered what this prophet says con- 
cerning God and his word, I come now to consider in 
the third place his prayer to God, and the use we should 
make of it. 

" Two things," says he, addressing his Maker, " have 
I required of thee ; deny me them not before I die." It 
is not now that Agur for the first time begins to pray. 
The petitions included in this prayer he had desired of 
God ; he no doubt had often prayed for the same things ; 
they had been objects of his desire ; and, as being ne- 
cessary to his well-being, he had humbly required them 
from his gracious Creator. Whatever we need, we may 
ask of God ; and whatever he has promised we may ask 
confidently, for God binds himself graciously to fulfil 
all his promises to his followers. " Deny me them not 
before I die." To his petitions he wishes an answer now, 
that he may spend the rest of his life in the state he de- 
scribes ; for we are not to suppose that such a prayer as 
this could be offered up by any person who felt himself 
on the verge of the grave ; it would rather appear that 
he was now entering upon public life, with a deep sense 
of his accountableness, and the dangers to which he was 
likely to be exposed in transacting the business of that 
station which the Divine Providence might assign him. 
The conduct of this man may afford lessons of prudence, 
piety, and caution, to all who are entering on the con- 
cerns of life, who wish to pass through them creditably, 
and who are properly sensible that this would be im- 
possible without the blessing and direction of that God 
who is the Author and Dispenser of every good and 
perfect gift. 

The text says, Agur asked two things from God ; but 


there appear to be three mentioned : 1. Remove far from 
me vanity and lies ; 2. Give me neither poverty nor 
riches ; 3. Feed me with food convenient for me. But 
as the first seems to refer wholly to religious matters, 
and the two latter to the concerns of this life, and these 
constitute the essence of his prayer, the first article 
does not seem to he necessarily included in the prayer. 

From the import of the original words kw shave and 
nis cazab, which we translate vanity and lies, I am satis- 
fied that Agur prays against idolatry, false religion, and 
false worship of every kind, and is here to be understood 
as expressing his faith, the purity of his motives, and his 
sole dependance on the true God, to whom he is about 
to address himself for those things necessary for his 
comfort, and safety, and life. The word nw shave is 
used for an idol or false god, Jer. xviii. 15, " My people 
have forsaken me, and burnt incense to vanity," Kraft 
hshavi, to an idol. Ps. xxxi. 6, " I hate them that 
regard lying vanities," kw "Vnn habeley shave, vain idols. 
See also Hos. xii. 11, " Is there iniquity in Gilead ? 
surely they are vanity, they sacrifice bullocks in Gilgal ; 
yea, their altars are as heaps in the furrows of the field." 
The prophet here states that Gilead and Gilgal were 
equally iniquitous, and equally idolatrous — their idolatry 
was universal ; and their altars, the proof of it, were to 
be met with everywhere. The prophet Jonah, chap. ii. 
8, uses the word in the same sense, " They that observe 
lying vanities forsake their own mercy." That is, they 
that trust in idols, follow vain predictions, and permit 
themselves to be influenced by foolish fears, so as to in- 
duce them to leave the path of obvious duty — " forsake 
their own mercy," in leaving that God who is the Foun- 
tain of mercy : but, says the prophet, " I will sacrifice 
to Thee." 

The word no cazab, which signifies a thing that fails 


or deceives, may well apply to the vain pretensions, false 
promises, and deceptive religious rites of idolatry ; so 
Jer. xv. 18, " Wilt thou be unto me as a liar," ntox ids 
kemo acazob — like the false failing promises of the false 
gods; "and as waters that fail," iddxd xb lo nemenu, 
that are not faithful — not like the true God, whose 
promises never fail ? According to this view of the sub- 
ject, Agur prays, 1. That he may be preserved from idol- 
atry ; 2. That he may put no confidence in any words 
but those pure words of God, that never fail them who 
put their trust in him. In a general way the words of 
the text may refer, 1. kw shave, to all false shows, all 
false appearances of happiness, every vain expectation ; 
let me never set my heart on anything that is not solid, 
true, durable, and eternal. 2. Lies, ma nan dibrey cazab, 
all words of deception, empty pretensions, false promises, 
uncertain dependencies, and words that fail ; promises 
which, when they become due, are like bad bills, they 
are dishonoured, because found to be forged, or the 
drawer insolvent. 

It is right that in our addresses to God we should 
have a proper view of the benevolence of his nature, and 
the truth of his word ; that we neither have self-depend- 
ance, nor false dependance; that we trust nothing to 
fortune, chance, or speculation ; for all these are as de- 
ceptive as idolatry, and confidence in them as criminal ; 
and that, with a clear conscience, we can approach our 
Maker, and declare our determination, by his help, to 
avoid every false way, and use no unfair, deceitful, or 
knavish mode in the conducting of our business or trade, 
or in transacting our temporal concerns with men. 

These matters being settled, Agur prefers his two pe- 

1. " Give me neither poverty nor riches." This peti- 
tion consists of two parts: 1. Give me not poverty; 2. 


Give me not riches : and for each of these he gives a 

The word which we translate poverty, u>xn res or resh, 
has a great variety of meanings in the Bible. It signi- 
fies head, chief, top — the first or chief of a kind, — a cap- 
tain, a full sum in accounts, poison, gall, deadly poison, 
i. e., the chief of deleterious plants, or that of the most 
venomous animals, — the head of a river, — a spring, — 
poverty, extreme poverty or indigence. In short, it gives 
the idea of precedence and priority wherever it is used ; 
but in this place, and in chap. vi. 11, it signifies over- 
whelming poverty. " So shall thy poverty come in as one 
that travaileth, and thy want as an armed man." As 
we proceed, we shall see what connexion on this subject 
some of the several meanings of the word vni res have 
with the root u>jo faash, which is composed of the same 
letters, and only differs in its various acceptations by 
means of the vowel points. The word poverty we bor- 
row from the French pauvrete ; which the grand dic- 
tionary of the Academy defines thus : Indigence, manque 
de biens, manque de choses necessaires a la vie. — " In- 
digence, want of substance, want of the things necessary 
for life." And in the same work, pauvre, a poor man, 
is defined, Un mendicant ; un homme qui est veritable- 
ment dans le besoin, — " A beggar ; a man who is really 
in want ;" no fictitious complainer ; one who has not the 
necessaries of life, and therefore must perish, if not 
relieved by the benevolence of others; — hence he is 
obliged to become wholly dependant on others, and beg 
from door to door for bread and raiment to prevent him 
from perishing. This idea has very properly occurred 
to the translator of my old MS. Bible : &too tfjtngts I 
pregefce to tfiee, ne trenge tfjou to me er E trie- l^angte antr 
lestnge toottius fer tro afcoage fro me; fteggri attlr rtcljessts ne 
gebe ttyou to me, Against beggary, or the state of absolute 


dependance, he prays, as the most uncertain in its pro- 
duce, as the most uncomfortable to the body, and the 
most ruinous to that state of mental independence which 
God has given to every man ; and without which man 
is capable of any villany. The poor laws in this country, 
though well designed in the beginning, have been totally 
subversive of this spirit among the lower classes in the 
nation, on account of the successive and now incurable 
abuses that have crept in by them. That nervous, inde- 
pendant spirit which the British yeomanry possessed in 
days of yore, is nearly extinct. The profligate and the 
careless, the man who no longer washes to work to 
maintain himself and his family, sees he can claim parish 
pay; and when he claims admittance into the poor- 
house, as he must give up what he has in order to enter 
there, will expend his last shilling, sell off, by slow de- 
grees, his furniture ; and when he is to be received, is 
known to have sold his clothes, his bed, his pan, and his 
last chair, the price of which he has expended on wants 
created by idleness, indulged under the conviction of the 
certainty of obtaining parish supply ; and probably the 
public-house, the nursery of sin, has previously had one 
half of the price obtained for those articles. To the 
unacquainted with such cases, which are sufficiently 
numerous, such a case appears most pitiable; for, say 
they, " the family was found destitute of everything, and 
ready to perish." I venture to state, that had it not 
been for the beggarliness of spirit, induced by the poor 
laws, there would not have been one out of 500 cases of 
this kind ever found in the nation. 

Had such a man as Agur lived in our time, with such 
a spirit of independence as he enjoyed, he would have 
entered this in his prayer, as a reason why God should 
hear him : " Lest I should be tempted to claim relief 
from, the parish, while able to earn my bread ; and lay 


down for Cvev at the threshold of the poor-house that 
independency of spirit with which thou hast endowed 
me ; and thus become capable of every evil work." 

Poverty has been divided into two parts, one relative, 
the other absolute. 1. Relative poverty; the state in 
which a man has but little ; has many wants, and but 
few supplies ; is often pinched, and always straitened ; 
and is in such circumstances, that he cannot relieve 
himself, and has no prospect of any amelioration of his 
condition. 2. Absolute poverty; the state in which a 
man has neither food, raiment, nor clothes, and can earn 
none, either through total want of employ, or through 
disease, which has completely prostrated his strength. 

Relative poverty possesses a little ; but that little in 
many cases insufficient for the support of life. 

Absolute poverty possesses nothing, and has no pros- 
pect of a change of that condition. Against these the 
prophet prays, " Give me not poverty ;" for which he 
adds the reason, " Lest I be poor and steal, and take the 
name of my God in vain." 

" Lest I become poor," win is pen ivaresh, lest, reduced 
to absolute poverty, and knowing no quarter from which 
I can obtain lawful help, I steal ; and thus supply my 
pressing wants with my neighbour s property. My old 
MS. translates emphatically : &trtr tfiurg neeire constragnelr 
stell ; antr so forstoere tlje name of mg <Holr. This clause is 
variously translated and understood. The Versions in 
general translate as we do, or, rather, our translators 
follow them ; and " forswear the name of the Lord" is 
the general sense given to the words ; i. e., having fallen 
into poverty, and having, in consequence of distrusting 
the Lord, put forth my hand and taken my neighbour's 
goods, and in order to hide, cover, vindicate, or excuse 
my conduct, have sworn to my own innocence, or pleaded 
such pressing evils as left me no alternative but either 


to steal or perish. The original mu^n taphasti, " I catch 
at" the name of my God — lay violent hold upon it ; as 
many do, who, reduced to their last shifts by overpower- 
ing testimony brought against them, swear the more 
earnestly and the more bitterly, either that they are in- 
nocent, or that they took what they did to save them 
from death ; and thus, to cover one sin, bring forward 
another. Among the Jews, a man suspected of theft 
was permitted to purge himself by an oath; and the 
accuser was obliged to accept of this oath, as a full proof 
that the accused was innocent. See Exod. xxii. 11. To 
a false oath, taken in this way, Agur doubtless refers. 
Swearing and lying are frequently brought forward to 
cover fraud and deceit. Let us show as much mercy as 
we can in such cases as these ; I have known many de- 
cent, respectable people, who feared a lie and trembled 
at an oath, who, when brought either by failure of trade, 
sudden fall of some article of commerce, speculation in 
business, through the hope of what they considered 
honest gain, by which they might be enabled to pay 
every man his due, — were led to forge bills, borrow 
money, impose upon even their own relations, cover one 
bad bill with another as bad, hoping that ere the time of 
payment they might, by the speculations or promises 
that were still in abeyance, be able to pay every one his 
due. Now here is the temptation, and here is the reason 
for the prayer : that, had they not been brought into this 
state of pressing poverty, they would never have resorted 
to those exceptionable means, and what is called dirty 
shifts, and tricking conduct. Reader, if thou be a man 
in business or trade, and art about to be straitened in 
thy circumstances, pray most fervently to God that thou 
mayest not fall into abject poverty, lest thou complete 
thy wretchedness by lying, cheating, false promising, 
false swearing, and other dirty acts; by which many, 


once respectable, honest, and upright, have been drowned 
in destruction of property, and perdition of character and 
life ; — and so the Lord have mercy on thy soul ! It was 
the knowledge I have acquired of men and things, in the 
course of my long passage through life, that first brought 
me to form the purpose of writing a discourse on the 
prayer of Agur. 

2. But he seems to pray as earnestly against riches as 
against poverty. " Give me not riches :" ~wy asher sig- 
nifies opulence, or abundant property of any kind ; as, 
independently of the vowel points, it is composed of the 
same letters as wy eser, ten, it is supposed by some able 
Hebraists to be derived from this latter ; ten being the 
rich number, including all units under it. No nation 
seems to have a higher numerical denomination than 
ten ; and as it includes the whole of the units, by com- 
binations of which the greatest possible computations 
are made ; so asher may be taken to express all those 
goods, property, wealth, &c, of every kind that consti- 
tute riches or abundance ; so that the rich man is one 
who has all the necessaries, all the conveniences, and all 
the comforts of this life ; and these in the utmost enjoy- 
able quantity. Higher than this is to be loaded, not 
enriched. For in these, all that is good or desirable is 

In vindication of deriving the Hebrew word -wy asher, 
riches, from the root -nyy eser, ten, as the rich number, 
containing all the units, Mr. Parkhurst has the following 
note : " In like manner, the etymologists derive the 
Greek hm, ten (whence the Latin decern, ten, and English 
decimate and decimation), from StxtoQai (Ionic StKtcQai), 
because it contains all numbers. And are not the Latin 
tmeo, and the French tenir, to hold (whence contenir, 
and the English contain), and the English ten, all derived 
from the same origin ? In an ancient language, contain- 


ing little else than simple terms, and where each must 
admit of as many shades of meaning as might he suffi- 
cient to denominate other things, as far as they could be 
referred to the ideal meaning of the primitive root ; it is 
not to he wondered at that the term in question, for the 
reasons above mentioned, might be used, with different 
vocal sounds appended to the letters, to express ten, 
tenth ; tithe, a measure of capacity, that held the tenth 
part of an ephah ; an instrument of music, the esur, that 
was capable of expressing all kinds of notes on its ten 
strings; — to express riches, opulence, abundance. And 
hence, perhaps the sun, which in Egypt was termed 
Osiris, -iwy the enrieher ; as the sun, by his light and 
heat, was the means of life and fructification to universal 
nature ; and hence the treasures of the earth." 

As the word -wy eser, riches, is opposed to u>*o res, 
poverty, and both words seem to be taken in their utmost 
significations, we may conceive that Agur's prayer had 
for its object both extremes — let me neither be affluently 
rich, nor miserably poor ; and this is sufficiently evident 
from the middle state (and in which there are gradations, 
verging upon comparative poverty on the one hand, and 
comparative riches on the other), which he here specifies. 
" Feed me with food convenient for me." He believed 
that both extremes were equally unfriendly to religion 
and happiness ; and I have had occasion to remark, in 
many thousands of cases, during the observations of a 
long life, made in various parts, that true religion makes 
as little way among the miserably poor as among the 
affluently rich. The former, full of unbelief, baseness of 
mind, and pining bitterness, neither pray to God, nor 
care to hear about the provision he has made for their 
salvation. The latter, full of sensuality, and pampered 
with the good things of this life, are only occupied with 
what they shall eat, what they shall drink, how they 



shall amuse and sport themselves, and wherewithal they 
shall be clothed, according to the endless changes in 
fantastic, frippery fashions ; are too busy, or too brutally 
happy, to attend to the call of the gospel ; and because 
it would break in upon their gratifications, they hate re- 
ligion, despise a crucified Saviour, and the men who 
proclaim salvation through his name alone. 

Who has been ever able to spread religion with much 
success among the occupants of a parish workhouse ? 
Who, whatsoever his authority might be, or his qualifi- 
cations, has been able to make many favourable impres- 
sions on the souls of mighty, and particularly rich and 
opulent men, so as to stem the torrent of fashionable 
impiety, and to establish among them the form, or if 
already established, imbue it with the power, of godli- 
ness ? A solitary example here and there, in the lapse 
of centuries of time, cannot overturn the fact : instances 
of real conversion are as rare among such persons as the 
black swan among birds. In short, the whole experience 
of the church of God, and the ministers of that church, 
goes to prove that it is the middle labouring classes in 
general who receive the truth in the love thereof, with 
gladness of heart ; and of those, mainly, is the visible 
church upon earth constituted. The poverty and riches 
men, in Agur's acceptation of those words, although they 
form two widely-different communities, in their social 
or earthly relations, make another kind of church, one 
and indivisible. They are not the living stones, instinct 
with the life and power of godliness, which are builded 
up for a habitation of God through the Spirit. 

It must be granted, that there are conditions of life, 
some of which are favourable, others unfavourable, to a 
religious life; but in all such cases there is sufficient 
help to be obtained from God, if it be earnestly sought. 
Where the faithful preaching of the pure gospel abounds, 


there is every advantage, both to the poor and the rich. 
But none can calculate the disadvantages that they lie 
under, who are resident where the trumpet gives an un- 
certain sound, or where erroneous doctrines are preached ; 
or where the pure doctrine of salvation is not sufficiently 
preached, and pressed home on the consciences of the 

If a person he in an unlawful ealling, he cannot ex- 
pect the blessing of God on his soul, whether he be rich 
or poor ; or if he be employed in a lawful business that 
is unlawfully pursued ; for instance, by the breach of the 
sabbath. There are many great men who do not know 
the truth, because their chaplains, &c, do not know the 
truth themselves ; and how, then, can they preach it ? 
or they are flattered in their vices ; or their easily beset- 
ting sins are not at all, or but tenderly touched. 

Agricultural pursuits seem to possess every advantage 
for a religious life, and yet the rich pluralist farmers are 
often proverbially ungodly ; they feed themselves with- 
out fear, and do not cultivate their minds, and therefore 
do not obtain the wisdom that cometh from above. Of 
such, an ancient wise man thus speaks : 

Ti oofpio&naeri 6 tcparwv aporpov, 

Kai KavxwfitvoQ tv Sopart Ktvrpov, 

Boac. tXavvuv /cat avaarpttyo/jitvog tv tpyoig avriov, 

Kai r) §ir}yt)GiQ avrov tv vioig ravpujv 

~K.apdi.av avrov dcousi ticdovvai avkanag, 

Kai rj apyvirvia avrov tig xop^a^ara 8a[ia\t(ov. 

2w0. viov Sipax ch. xxxviii. 25. 

How can he get wisdom who holdeth the plough, 

And who glorieth in the spear of the goad ; 

Who driveth oxen, and is occupied in their labours, 

And whose conversation is about calves 1 

Who setteth his heart on the making of furrows, 

And his watchful cares on the fattening of cows ? 



All these are important occupations : but what a pity 
that the whole heart should be set upon them ; that he 
who causeth the grass to grow for cattle, and the com 
for the service of man, should be forgotten in those very 
circumstances where his power and his providence are 
most conspicuous ! 

The ardent pursuit of riches is as destructive as the 
possession of them is dangerous. The apostle says, " The 
love of money is the root of all evil ; which, while some 
coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced 
themselves through with many sorrows. For they that 
will be rich fall into temptation, and a snare, and into 
many foolish and hurtful lusts, which draw men into 
destruction and perdition ;" 1 Tim. vi. 9, 10. They will 
be rich ; and being so determined, they utterly forget God 
and their souls. 

For his prayer against riches, Agur gives as good a 
reason as he does for that against poverty, " Lest I be 
full and deny thee, and say, who is the Lord?" My 
old MS. Bible is, as often is the case, emphatic here.: 
ilest perabenturs I fulfil'tr, tt irratoen to tangen, atrtr sesett, 
fofjo ts tfje ILortr ! That is, lest, having all earthly things 
at command, I should gratify all my sensual desires, and 
thus, feeling no spiritual wants, be excited to deny that 
there is a God, and tauntingly and impudently call upon 
his followers to show him whom they call Lord. Cover- 
dale expresses the pride and naughtiness of their heart 
in his translation, " Lest if I be to full, I denye the, and 
saye, what fellowe is the Lord ?" The general meaning 
is, " Lest I be full, and addict myself to luxurious living, 
pamper the flesh, and starve the soul, and so deny thee, 
the Fountain of goodness ; and if called upon to resort 
to first principles, I say, who is Jehovah ? "Why should 
I acknowledge, why should I serve him ? and thus cast 
aside all sense of religion, and all moral obligation." 


But there is another clause that seems to make a sepa- 
rate prayer, though included in the preceding : " Feed 
me with food convenient for me ;" expressed by three 
words in the original, *pn on 1 ? »D3nnn hateriphini lechem, 
ckukki, the meaning of which appears to he, " give me, 
as prey, my statute allowance of bread." The prayer of 
a hunter going out to the forest to seek for venison. 
" Thou knowest I need a certain portion of food for 
myself and family ; so order it that I shall meet with 
such prey as may be both suitable and sufficient for my 
wants." It is the same petition in sense and substance 
as that in our Lord's prayer, tov aprov riynav tov e7nov(noik 
doQ ffrui/ otiptgov, or to naff rifiepov, " Give us to-day our 
sufficient portion of food ;" or, " Give us each day our 
proper ration," — what in sufficient for our daily con- 

There was great moderation in the prayer of Agur, he 
wished merely for what was sufficient for the family 
support, — -just what was needful, and this was what 
Providence seemed to prescribe; and therefore it is termed 
-pn chukki, my statute allowance ; that which is marked 
out as necessary for the support of life; and this he 
asked not in advance, but day by day ; and thus con- 
tinual dependance on God, and continual gratitude for 
blessings daily received, were kept in full exercise. 

This is a most lawful prayer; it can never be the 
design of God that any man shall perish through the 
want of the necessaries of life. There is bread for all, 
furnished by Divine Providence ; and work for all, by 
which they may acquire that bread ; for it is in or by 
the sweat of the brow that a man shall eat bread. This 
was God's original design ; and hence the apostle strongly 
asserts, 2 Thess. iii. 10, that " they who will not work, 
shall not eat ;" and hence he commands them, 1 Thess. 
iv. 11, " To study to be quiet, to do their own business, 


and to work with their hands."' The slothful man shall 
be clothed with rags ; nor is there anything in providence 
or in grace to entitle him to expect a subsistence if he 
labour not ; in Agur s prayer he can have no part. 
Riches in no sense can he have who will not work. 
Poverty and wretchedness must be his portion ; with the 
disapprobation of God, both in time and eternity. But 
God will bless the hand of the diligent ; and he may 
not only have enough, but something to spare. Reader, 
should God not only give thee the portion necessary for 
thee, but something more, remember, the poor are ever 
with thee ; turn not away thy face from any poor man ; 
and so the face of the Lord shall never be turned away 
from thee. Add to this, the consideration that God re- 
quires your help in behalf of his Church, and for the 
diffusion of his knowledge among the heathen. There 
are whole nations who have not heard of the Lord's 
Christ. You cannot get to them in person ; go then in 
proxy. There are many holy men who have in this 
way consecrated their service to the Lord, and wish to 
be sent to those countries, from which a voice is come to 
our ears, and to our hearts, Come over and help us! 
Send them as your proxies and representatives. 

Let the rich, who do not wish that their table should 
become a snare to them, expend at least a part of their 
surplus in this way ; and this will be the means of getting 
the blessing of God on all the rest. Thus, between the 
poor, the church, and the heathen, there are so many 
open channels to take off all our superfluous cash ; and 
consequently so many means of conveying God's ap- 
probation and blessing to our hearts and families. Thus 
the rich man may join in Agur's prayer with great 
fervour and success, " Give me not riches, without giving 
me a heart to use them to thy glory and the good of 
mankind 1" And thus, to use a plain term, that which 


God has put into your hands, you will never put 
into your heart; but will honour the Lord with your 

And now, ye poor, arise and shake yourselves from the 
dust, and cry unto the Lord. Has not your present 
wretchedness proceeded either from your slothfulness, or 
the abuse of mercies already received ? God may bring 
back your captivity ; search your hearts, humble your- 
selves before him, — who knows but he will return to 
you with mercies, and your expectation shall not perish 
for ever. He has promised " to deliver the needy when 
he crieth ; the poor also, and him that hath no helper ;" 
Ps. lxxii. 2. But remember, there is no promise of 
deliverance where there is no cry. If you call earnestly 
upon him, you will find the truth of this promise : " He 
raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy 
out of the dunghill ;" Ps. cxiii. *J. 

In the preceding paraphrase on the short history and 
maxims of Agur, I have endeavoured to point out the 
snares and dangers incident to the principal states and 
situations of life, the imperfection of human knowledge, 
the danger of self-confidence and presumption ; the 
necessity of divine teaching, and of preservation from 
extremes, in reference to poverty on the one hand, and 
riches on the other ; the blessedness of a middle state in 
society ; the duties of the rich, the poor, and of those 
who occupy the middle place in reference to these two 
extremes ; and the necessity of faith in God, prayer to 
him, and contentment with the situation in which his 
wise providence has thought fit to place us. 

The prayer of Agur has been frequently quoted by 
many who attended very little to its meaning, and whose 
hearts were strongly set upon gain ; who wished with all 
their souls to be as rich as the best of their neighbours, 
and who would have been glad to have been placed at 


the head. of the community: but as this was in most 
cases hopeless, they felt a desire to compound with pro- 
vidence ; and. on condition that they were not to see 
poverty, but have all the necessaries, conveniences, and 
comforts of life, they would have been contented to have 
given up what they conceived to be riches — the state of 
kings, great lords, affluent merchants, wealthy tradesmen, 
and extensive landholders ! For want of close self-exami- 
nation we possess but little of self-knowledge, and often 
think we are very sincere, when in fact we are very 
ignorant of the import of our own requests, and some- 
times even mean the contrary to what we express. 

The sum of all is, God alone is the Fountain, Author, 
and Giver of all good. He loves man ; and if, while 
humble, teachable, and dependant on him, he earnestly 
and honestly put forth the powers which he has given 
him, steadily fleeing from sin to God his Saviour ; that 
saving and merciful God will bless him in his lawful 
endeavours, and enable him to owe no man anything, 
and to provide things honest in the sight of all men ; 
God will not very probably give him riches, but will 
save him from pinching poverty, and grant him the food 
or maintenance convenient or suitable to his state. 

Whoever has received from God food, raiment, and a 
contented spirit, has received all that he should pray 
for, and all that any human being needs to make him 
truly happy. What is beyond this is generally an en- 
cumbrance, or a heavy charge intrusted to the possessor 
in behalf of the poor ; and he has much need to pray 
for grace from God to be faithful. He who prays for 
riches, prays for snares, vanity, and vexation of spirit. 
He who prays for poverty, prays for what few can 
bear; and should his prayer be heard, and he become 
poor, he will most probably " steal, and take the name of 
the Lord in vain." For where a prophet of God did 


not feel himself safe, a common Christian would be very 
likely to fall. 

Some pray for poverty of spirit — this is pernaps an- 
other word for humility ; of this, no man can have too 
much. And some pray for the riches of grace and glory, 
by which they mean an abundance of faith, hope, and 
love. This should be the incessant prayer of every 
Christian; for without the faith that works, the hope 
that excites to universal patience, and the love that 
labours for the glory of God and the salvation of men, 
no man can be a true Christian, or ever expect, on the 
gospel plan, to inherit the kingdom of God. 

n 3 



Joel ii. 28, 29, 32. 

28. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my 
spirit upon all flesh ; and your sons and your daughters shall 
prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men 
shall see visions : 

29. And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids, in those 

days, will I pour out my spirit. 
32. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the 
name of the Lord, shall be delivered. 

This passage, as quoted by St. Peter, Acts ii. 17, 18, 
21, stands thus : 

17. And it shall come to pass in the last days (sv raig sffxaraig 
ri/xEpaig), saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh : 
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy (7rpo0jjr£v- 
oovaiv), and your young men shall see visions, and your old 
men shall dream dreams. 

18. And on my servants, and on my handmaidens, I will pour out 
in those days of my spirit ; and they shall prophesy (icai 


21. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the 
name of the Lord shall be saved (ffw0j}<T£rcu, " he shall be 
made safe, — be preserved)." 

Hope, " the expectation of good things to come," has 
a powerful operation on the human heart in all states 
and conditions of life ; suppose it be well with us, we 

A DISCOURSE ON JOEL II. 28, 29, 32. 293 

think it may be better ; and the bare possibility of the 
thing is sufficient to excite hope that it shall be so ; and 
hence expectation, which, properly speaking, is hope 
drawn out into unlimited successive acts ; and thus we 
pass through life with, if not a cheerful, yet an amusing 
prospect of future good. 

All expectation of this kind is legitimate in religion, 
whether it respect the individual in relation to the Church 
of God, or whether it respect the Church itself. Every 
true Christian is hoping for better days in reference to 
his own religious state ; and for better times in reference 
to a more extensive dissemination of the words of truth 
over the earth; and a larger effusion of the Divine 
Spirit to make the diffusion of truth effectual to the sal- 
vation of men. 

In religious matters these expectations are founded on 
the promises of God; and the descriptions, often alle- 
gorical and figurative, which the sacred writers give of 
the privileges of true believers, and the glory of the 
Church, considered as the spiritual body of our Lord 
Jesus ; for as the head is necessarily glorious, the body 
must be consequently so. 

This state of mind and general feeling among Chris- 
tians, every man on the whole should encourage; and 
though it is difficult to correct the exuberance of this 
hope, yet, if got by misunderstanding or misapplying 
portions of Scripture, and carrying false views into acts 
of extravagance, this correction should be attempted by 
showing the precise meaning of such passages, and»rigidly 
restraining them to that meaning, for all religious feel- 
ings and expectations should be directed by religious 
knowledge; for even out love to God and man must 
" abound more and more in all knowledge, as well in all 
judgment (or spiritual sense), that we may approve things 
that are excellent, be sincere and without offence till 


the day of Christ ; and be filled with the fruits of righte- 
ousness, which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and 
praise of God ;" Phil. i. 9 — 11. Without this knowledge 
and judgment, expectation may be spent in useless hopes, 
and at last end in bitter disappointment, which is most 
likely to be succeeded by a measure of unbelief in the 
promises of God- for it is natural to suppose that a 
promise from Eternal Truth should be fulfilled; and 
when, after haying been strongly pleaded in faith by 
prayer, the answer appears to be delayed, and at last the 
heart is sickened by the disappointment of hope, doubts 
arise relative even to the truth of the promises on which 
the hope was founded. 

Now all this was occasioned by taking a wrong view of 
the promise; applying it to that to which it did not 
refer, making that general which was only particular, 
or applying to mankind at large what was only spoken 
of one people, and often even of an individual, in pecu- 
liar circumstances. But the greatest mischiefs have been 
done by applying that to things yet to come, that has 
had its fulfilment in things already past; and on this 
mistake, forming arithmetical calculations relative to 
the precise time in which those great events, perhaps 
the children of our own fancy, should actually take 
place ! 

What disappointment and confusion have been brought 
into the minds of many by calculations relative to the 
termination of certain empires, Papal and Turkish ; the 
beast and the false prophet ; Christ's second coming to 
establish a universal empire, the laws of which are to be 
administered by his presence corporeally manifested on 
earth ; and also concerning the time of the final judg- 
ment and the end of the world ! When a fancy is pur- 
sued, the line of pursuit is only directed by a sort of 
telegraphic phantoms, unreal land-marks to unreal ob- 

A DISCOURSE ON JOEL II. 28, 29, 32. 295 

jects ; and when the last ignis fatuus has terminated its 
uncertain dance by absorption in some other vapour by 
which it has been neutralized, we are left in sudden 
darkness, in the quagmire where all such mental aberra- 
tions must necessarily end ; and thus prophecy is prosti- 
tuted, faith and hope (improperly employed) are disap- 
pointed, and religion itself discredited. 

Leaving comparisons relative to the times and persons 
that now are, lest they might be thought invidious, let 
us go back to the days of the astonishing Lord Napier, 
the inventor of the logarithms, who, deluded by an initial 
misapprehension of certain promises and scriptural figu- 
rative expressions, began to calculate time and its termi- 
nation in the general conflagration of the whole solar 
system, and the final winding up of the mortal story in 
the last judgment, when the irrevocable doom should be 
pronounced relative to the evil and the good, and their 
states rendered unchangeable, being for ever shut in by 
the deep-driven bolt of God's eternal purpose. This 
great man, by his calculations on the vials or trumpets 
in the Apocalypse, found that each vial contained the 
space of 245 years, that the seventh, or last, begun in 
A. D. 1541, consequently it would extend to 1786 : — 
" Not," says this- most eminent (though deplorably de- 
ceived)' man, " that I mean that that age or yet the world 
shall continew so long, because it is said, that for the 
elect's sake the time shall be shortened ; but I mean, 
that if the world wer to indure, that seventh age should 
continew untill the yeare of Christ 1786." But finding 
some data in the 1335 days of Daniel, chap, xii., and in 
the times of the thundering angels, Rev. viii. 9, from 
the former he concluded that the day of judgment would 
take place in 1700 ; and by the latter, in 1688; whence, 
says he, " it may be confidently expected, that this awful 
day shall take place between these two periods !" that is, 


Lord Napier brought the whole business within the cer- 
tainty of occurrence in the difference (twelve years), 
between the above two periods ! and thus our forefathers, 
who lived in 1688, must be persuaded that within the 
space of twelve years " the heavens would pass away 
with a great noise, and the elements should melt with 
fervent heat, and the earth also and the works that are 
therein should be burnt up ! Alas for such calculators 
and expectants ! we, who are alive 129 years after the 
utter failure of those laborious calculations, find the hea- 
vens and the earth in their original perfection; un- 
changed in their nature, without a hair's breadth of 
deviation in their various and multitudinous motions, per- 
formed by an unseen guidance and energy, in the vortex 
of space ! And such has been and will be the issue of the 
schemes of all those, who, in their calculations relative to 
a millennial state of glory just at hand, have been doing 
little else than tithing mint and anise and cummin, 
while they omitted the weightier matters of the law, 
judgment, mercy, and faith. How many mouths are 
full of the cry of the approaching latter days' glory, 
making their views of the subject the test of a sound 
creed, while those who differ from them are reputed not 
much better than stubborn heretics. 

It is strange that there should be so little caution used 
on subjects of this kind, where so many wise and learned 
men have been deceived by their calculations, and led 
astray by trusting to their own understanding : but ad- 
venturers in prediction appear in every generation, every 
One supposing he has found out the times and seasons 
which the Father hath put in his own power ; and as he 
believes that to him the secret has been revealed, he is 
not deterred by the failure of his predecessors, as he 
knows they were wrong, because he believes he is right ! 

That God, the great Sun of righteousness, is deter- 

A DISCOURSE ON JOEL II. 28, 29, 32. 297 

mined to shine more and more unto the perfect day ; 
and that the light of divine revelation is becoming more 
generally diffused, and that the work of righteousness in 
the earth is both extended and deepened, are truths 
which no friend to God and man would attempt to deny. 
This is the kingdom, the coming of which our blessed 
Lord has commanded us to pray for, and strongly to ex- 
pect; but even this kingdom of our Lord cometh not 
with observation ; it advances slowly and silently along 
in that great way in which the grace and providence of 
God walk on with an even pace : but we want to see 
portents, — we are looking for wonderful appearances — 
we want a different shaking of the nations than that of 
which God hath spoken ; and we appear to be entering 
far into the presumption, that the path we have marked 
out is that in which he must infallibly tread. For, 
" the glory of the latter day is at hand, he hath promised 
to come, and we have proved that this is the time ; and 
he is even now at the doors." 

The text on which these observations are founded, is 
considered a strong evidence on the subject ; but with- 
out entering into the manner in which this text has been 
applied, and without touching the controversy that has 
lately been excited, I shall endeavour to give the literal, 
and what I believe to be the only, sense of the inspired 
writer, and prove that the great predicted pact has 
already taken place ; and that the consequences are still 
in manifest progression, and will continue to come on 
with the lapse of time, till mortality is swallowed up of 
life. In doing this I shall — 

I. Consider what is meant by the words, "It shall 
come to pass afterward." 

II. The prediction, " I will pour out my spirit upon 
all flesh ;" and, 


III. The consequences, " They shall prophesy," &c. 
IV What is the deliverance or salvation that shall be 
the result. 

" And it shall come to pass afterward," p nrw ?vm ve- 
haiya acherey ken. " And it shall be in the latter times, 

In the preceding part of this chapter the prophet had 
predicted a terrible desolation of the land of Judea by 
the means of immense swarms of locusts, which should 
destroy all vegetation, and bring about a severe famine ; 
but that on their repentance and humiliation God would 
destroy those destroyers, and bless the land with an un- 
precedented degree of fertility, so that plenty should be 
restored, and universal prosperity should prevail in the 

As the subject gave the prophet occasion, he passes, 
by a very elegant transition, into a prediction of the 
great blessings that should be dispensed to the Jews 
and to the Gentiles in gospel times, by the unsearchable 
riches of Christ. " It shall come to pass after these 
things ; p nnx acherey ken ; these words, says Rab. 
David Kimchi, always refer to the days of the Messiah, 
the latter days ; and thus this prophecy is to be inter- 
preted ; and we have the testimony of St. Peter, Acts ii. 
14 — 21, that this prophecy relates to that mighty effu- 
sion of the Holy Spirit of which the apostles were the 
subjects, on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of 
Christ. "But Peter, standing up, lifted up his voice, 
and said : This is that which was spoken by the prophet 
Joel, It shall come to pass in the last days (ev raig eaxa- 
tcuq ^tpatf), saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit 
upon all flesh," &c. ; and he goes on to quote the whole 
of this prophecy, applying it, by divine authority, to the 

A DISCOURSE ON JOEL II. 28, 29, 32. 299 

events that had lately taken place, and to that mighty- 
baptism of the Spirit under which they then felt and 

We see, therefore, that this prophecy of Joel related 
to gospel times, to # those in which Christ was incarnate, 
dwelling among men full of grace and truth ; who, being 
delivered for their offences, was raised again for their 
justification, and having received the promise of the 
Father, the Holy Ghost, he had shed forth that which 
they now saw and heard : see as above, verses 22 — 33. 
So we have it fully ascertained that the latter days of 
which Joel spake, according to the interpretation of St. 
Peter, were those gospel times in which Christ was mani- 
fested in the flesh, lived, suffered, died, was buried, rose 
again from the dead, ascended into heaven, received the 
promise of the Father, and sent forth that baptism of the 
Holy Spirit, of which they were at that time made par- 
takers; and that the prophecy does not refer to any 
imaginary manifestation of the Holy Spirit, which should 
take place more than eighteen hundred years afterwards. 
St. Peter s application of it to those events, and to those 
only, leaves us without doubt on the propriety of thus 
understanding the prophecy. 

II. We come now to consider the Prediction, " I 
will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh." There is a good 
saying of Rabbi Tancum, though we know not the tra- 
dition from which he quotes ; but he quotes in reference 
to this prophecy of Joel, " When Moses laid his hands 
upon Joshua, the holy blessed God said, In the time of 
the old text each individual prophet prophesied ; but in 
the times of the Messiah, all the Israelites shall be pro- 

The term prophet, among the ancient Jews, not only 
meant, 1. A man who could foretel future events by 
the direct inspiration of God, or by the information 


• •. 

which viva voce he received from him ; but also, 2. A 
teacher of those young men, called sons of the prophets, 
who were to be employed in the service of the taber- 
nacle ; 3. One who instructed the people, a preacher ; 
4. One who acted as a civil magistrate ; and, 5. A man 
of faith and prayer, who had power with God, and 
made effectual supplication for individuals and for the 

By prophecy, chiefly, was the will of God made known 
to men ; and the whole of what is called Divine Revela- 
tion came in this way. When this prophecy was de- 
livered, the greater part of the canon of the Scripture 
was completed ; only Ezekiel, Daniel, and some of the 
minor prophets, having not yet made their appearance. 
It is not, however, to what was farther necessary to be 
done, to complete the Jewish canon, that he speaks here ; 
but to what should be added under the Messiah; to 
what God would give in that last dispensation of justice 
and mercy, which he was to manifest in the world. 

This dispensation might be emphatically called " The 
dispensation of the Holy Spirit." The gifts and graces 
of this Spirit were but rarely given under the Old Testa- 
ment. Few, besides prophets, priests, and some kings, 
appear to have been made partakers of them. During 
the whole of the Mosaic economy the common people 
shared but little in those gifts and graces. It was only 
under the Christian dispensation that the kingdom of 
heaven was opened to all believers. And this is what 
the prophet means when he introduces God speaking 
thus : " I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh," i. e., 
upon mankind at large ; no longer making those distinc- 
tions that prevailed formerly, where the great mass of 
the people were little noticed. 

The word -ma basar, which is translated Jiesh, signifies 
properly the human race; that flesh or nature which 

A DISCOURSE ON JOEL II. 28, 29, 32. 301 

was the most eminent. See Gen. ii. 24, Ps. xxxviii. 
3 — 7- And it is certainly used to express all mankind 
in this prophecy, and in Gen. vi. 12, Isai. xl. 5, and 
other places. It is also used to express good news, glad 
tidings ; and by it the term as well as the thing which 
we call gospel, is designated in the Old Testament ; wit- 
ness that remarkable passage, Isai. lxi. 1, "The Spirit 
of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to 
preach good tidings;" -ma 1 ? le-basar, to declare the flesh, 
— the incarnation : as if the good tidings necessarily 
implied, God manifested in the flesh : and nothing 
could be so properly called preaching, or a declaration of 
good news, as that in which the incarnation of Christ, 
and the end for which he was incarnated, were promi- 
nently declared, and made the chief part of the subject. 
What can be called good news to a lost world, but the 
declaration of God's mercy in its redemption by Jesus 

As this " pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh,'' 
is applied by St. Peter, as we have seen, to what took 
place on the day of Pentecost, when this dispensation 
was first opened, so its being poured out on all flesh 
must have some particular relation to the circumstances 
of that case. For it is expressly said, " there were dwell- 
ing (icaToiicovvTeQ or sojourning) at Jerusalem, Jews, 
devout men, out of every nation under heaven;" who 
consequently were acquainted with the languages of the 
nations whence they came ; and they were now only so- 
journing at Jerusalem, having come up to attend at the 
passover, or for the purpose of merchandise. And the 
devout men, avSpag svXafieiQ, men of good character, re- 
spectable, moral men, were such as could be proper judges 
of what they heard and saw. They were either native 
Jews, or such as were born in the countries where their 
parents sojourned ; or they were Gentiles, proselytes to 


Judaisnf, and were well qualified to give credible testi- 
mony relative to the facts that had taken place. At this 
time there was scarcely a commercial or civilized nation 
under heaven, where the Jews had not been scattered 
for the purpose of trade, merchandise, &c. ; and from all 
those nations it is here said, there were persons present 
at Jerusalem. Several of those nations are here speci- 
fied : we shall consider them in order : — 

1. Parthians. Parthia anciently included the north- 
ern part of modern Persia ; it was situated between the 
Caspian Sea and Persian Gulf, and rather to the east- 
ward of both. 

2. Medes. Media was a country lying in the vicinity 
of the Caspian Sea, having Parthia on the east, Assyria 
on the south, and Mesopotamia on the west. 

3. Elamites. Probably inhabitants of that country 
now called Persia. The Medes and Elamites were a 
neighbouring people, dwelling beyond the Tigris. 

4. Mesopotamia. Now called Diarbeck, in Asiatic 
Turkey, situated between the Tigris and Euphrates; 
hence its name — " the country between the rivers." It 
had Assyria on the east, Arabia Deserta with Babylonia 
on the south, Syria on the west, and Armenia on the 
north. It is the same country that was called Padan- 
Aram by the ancient Hebrews ; and by all the Asiatics 
is now called Maverannahar, i. e., " the country beyond 
the river." 

5. Judea. Whether this be meant to express the 
Jewish Mesopotamia, and that lovdaiav should be taken 
for the adjective, read here as agreeing with Mecro7rora- 
Hiav, Mesopotamia, learned men are not agreed. Vast 
multitudes of Jews were settled here, and Josephus says 
the ten tribes dwelt in Mesopotamia in his time. Perhaps 
Galilee may be understood here, as that was a part of 
Judea bordering upon Syria, and we know that the dia- 

A DISCOURSE ON JOEL II. 28, 29, 32. 303 

lect of the inhabitants of that province was so different 
from the other parts of Judea, especially about Jerusalem, 
as scarcely to be understood, and therefore might be 
specified here, as the miracle must also operate upon 
them to enable them clearly and readily to understand 
what the disciples spoke, who either spoke pure Hebrew, 
or the Chaldeo-Syriac. For other particulars, see my 
notes on this verse. 

6. Cappadocia. This was an ancient kingdom of 
Asia-Minor, comprehending all that country that lies 
between Mount Taurus and the Euxine Sea. 

7. Pontds. Anciently Pontus was a very powerful 
kingdom of Asia, and originally a part of Cappadocia. 
It was bounded on the east by Colchis, on the west by 
the river Halys, on the north by the Black or Euxine 
Sea, and on the south by Asia Minor. The famous 
Mithridates was king of this country ; and it was one 
of the last that the Roman power was able to subjugate. 

8. Asia. Probably Asia Minor ; it was that part of 
Turkey in Europe, now called Natolia, or Anatolia. 

9. Phrygia. A country of Asia Minor, southward of 
Pontus, lying between the Euxine and Mediterranean 

10. Pamphylia. A country lying near the Mediter- 
ranean Sea, between Lycia and Cilicia ; it is now called 

11. Egypt. A very extensive country of Africa, 
bounded by the Mediterranean on the north, by the 
Red Sea and the Isthmus of Suez, which divide it from 
Arabia, on the east, by Abyssinia or Ethiopia on the 
south, and by the deserts of Barca and Nubia on the 
west. It was called Mitzraim by the ancient Hebrews, 
and now Mesr, by the Arabians. It extends 600 miles 
from north to south, and from 100 to 200 miles from 
east to west. 



12. Lybia, in a general way among the Greeks, sig- 
nified Africa ; but the south-eastern part in the vicinity 
of Egypt, bordering on Cyrene, may be here intended. 

13. Cyrene. A country in Africa, on the coast of 
the Mediterranean Sea, southward of the most western 
point of the island of Crete. 

There were present also at that time several other 
people, distinguished by the names of the places where 
they had a temporary residence — strangers of Rome, 
Jews, and proselytes ; persons who had not been in Je- 
rusalem before, but most probably natives of Rome : 
the Jews might be sojourners there, and the proselytes 
were heathens professing the Jewish religion. 

14. Cretans. Inhabitants of Crete, a large and fa- 
mous island in the Levant, or eastern part of the Medi- 
terranean Sea, now called Candia. 

15. Arabians. Natives of Arabia, a large and well- 
known country of Asia, having the Red Sea on the west, 
the Persian Gulf on the east, Judea on the north, and 
the Indian Ocean on the south. It is divided into dis- 
tricts that have been denominated Arabia Petrsea, Arabia 
Felix, and Arabia Deserta. 

I have entered the more particularly into this geo- 
graphical sketch of these places, because I am satisfied 
that in the great work mentioned here, the prophecy 
in my text began to be fulfilled ; and thus to show how 
wisely it was ordered, that the miraculous descent of 
the Holy Ghost, called by Joel the " outpouring of the 
Spirit," should have taken place at this time, when so 
many from various nations were present to witness it, and 
to be themselves subjects of its mighty workings. These, 
on their return to their respective countries, would natu- 
rally proclaim what things they had seen and heard, and 
by this the way of the apostles was made plain ; and 
thus Christianity made a rapid progress over all those 

A DISCOURSE ON JOEL II. 28, 29, 32. 305 

parts above mentioned, in a very short time after the 
resurrection of our Lord. 

2ndly. I have entered into this subject the more par- 
ticularly to show that, in the variety of languages pos- 
sessed by men of various nations then present at Jeru- 
salem, the prophecy in the text might be considered as 
having a most singular fulfilment. The Holy Spirit 
was to be poured out upon all flesh — upon mankind at 
large ; and here it might be said the human race was 
present in their representatives. There was most pro- 
bably not a kind or national family of man which had 
not a representative among those Parthians, Medes, 
Elamites, Mesopotamians, Jews, Cappadocians, people 
of Pontus, of Asia, of Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, Lybia, 
Cyrene, Rome, Crete, and Arabia. And there was not 
a regular language of the then known universe, that 
was not known by some or other of the nations here spe- 
cified. The three great tongues in which it pleased God 
at the first to disseminate his truth, viz., the Hebrew, 
the Greek, and the Latin, were here ; among them 
also I can recognize the Syriac, the Chaldee, the Abyssi- 
nian or Ethiopic, the Pehlevi or ancient Persian, the 
Coptic, the Armenian, and the Arabic ; and besides how 
many of the languages of Asia Proper and Asia Minor, 
with Greek, Slavonic, and Celtic dialects, we cannot say, 
but we may presume not a few. 

It was most probably through this that we find tradi- 
tions among all the great nations of the universe, relative 
to the true God, and the great scripture facts. And this 
miracle thus predicted was, humanly speaking, essen- 
tially necessary to prepare the nations of the world for 
the preaching of the gospel of Christ; and by these 
means, as we have already seen, was the way of the 
apostles and first planters of Christianity made plain, 
not only through all the land of Palestine, but also 


through Egypt, Syria, Asia, Asia Minor, Greece, Italy, 
and probably through many parts of Germany, France, 
Spain, and the islands of the sea. And it is so managed 
now by the providence and grace of God, that to all the 
inhabitants of the earth the word of life is in the act of 
being sent, by translations of the Bible into the different 
languages of the habitable world ; and with these Bibles 
in many languages, Missionaries go forth to proclaim to 
those peoples in their own languages the unsearchable 
riches of Christ. Now all these are proofs that the great 
promise contained in this most important prophecy, is in 
the fullest progress to be speedily fulfilled even in the 
utmost sense of the words ; for God is pouring out his 
Spirit upon all flesh. 

III. I shall now consider the consequences of this 
pouring out of the Spirit, and the instruments which he 
employs under the direction of this Spirit : " Your sons 
and your daughters shall prophesy." 

We have already seen that a prophet signified, 1. A 
teacher of youth in ecclesiastical matters ; 2. A teacher 
of the people in the things that concerned their salvation, 
i. e., a preacher of righteousness ; 3. One that had power 
in prayer, so as to become an intercessor for men. These 
gifts and offices were, under the Mosaic dispensation, re- 
strained to particular persons, chosen of God himself; 
for the prophetic gifts were in no case hereditary. But 
under this outpouring of the Spirit there was to be no 
selection of persons from certain tribes, families, &c. ; but 
all who received this spirit, and were actuated by it, were 
to be endued with those gifts and graces, by which they 
might be able to edify each other, and proclaim to those 
■who were ignorant the unsearchable riches of Christ. 
They should be exhorters, instructors, preachers, and 
intercessors, so as to be able to edify the church. It 
intimates that the graces and gifts of the Spirit' would be 

A DISCOURSE ON JOEL II. 28, 29, 32. 307 

both general and abundant ; and has not every age 
of Christianity been a proof of this ? There have, it is 
true, been many eminent men in Judaism; prophets, 
priests, kings, historians, poets, statesmen, soldiers, 
heroes, and men deeply devoted to God ; but how few 
of these in proportion to the 2000 years' length of that 
dispensation, and the number of the people ! But leav- 
ing divine inspiration out of the question, what are they 
in their respective kinds when compared with Christians 
in all these characters, offices, and situations? There 
have also been some eminent women ; but leaving out 
extraordinary providences, which worked in their behalf, 
what were they in number and eminence in comparison 
of the thousands in Christianity that have been great, 
wise, pious, and learned? But suppose we turn our 
attention to the common people, those who formed the 
aggregate of the Jewish church, and what shall we see ? 
Ignorance and indevotion ; they were rebels against God, 
and all legitimate rule ; murmurers, complainers, mal- 
contents, cruel, and vindictive ; scarcely ever having the 
form, and more seldom the power, of godliness. On the 
other hand, look at the aggregate body of the Christian 
church, and how convincingly true are the words of the 
poet :-— . 

Men in their own eyes were children again ; 

The children were wise and solid as men : 

The women were fearful of nothing but sin ; 

Their hearts were all cheerful, their consciences clean. 

Without the aid of human learning, many Christians, 
male and female, became not only very respectable for 
their talents, but also eminently useful ; and possessed so 
much of the genuine spirit of piety, and the life and 
power of religion, that they endured all kinds of hard- 
ships and persecutions, and loved not their lives even 

VOL. II o 



unto *he death, that they might show their invincible 
love to their God and Saviour, and unalterable attach- 
ment to their religion, in possession of which they 
enjoyed a happiness and foretaste of heaven, that ab- 
sorbed all earthly and temporal considerations; there- 
fore even the women braved death in all its terrific forms, 
and in the times of persecution were all, at all times, 
confessors, and multitudes of them martyrs. The aged 
men and women saw their sons and their daughters 
endued with the Spirit, prophesying ; not only visiting 
the sick, and ministering to the necessities of the poor, 
but also deaconesses in the church, teaching the truths 
of God to those who had not learned them, bringing, by 
their good advice and holy practice, Gentiles into the 
church. In a word, " the aged men were vigilant, grave, 
holy, temperate, sound in the faith, in charity, and in 

" The aged women were in behaviour as became holy 
women, not makers of strife, not intemperate, not false 
accusers, teachers of good things (icaXodidaffKakovQ, good 
able teachers)." 

"They taught the young women to be wise, to be 
lovers of their husbands, and lovers of their children, 
discreet, chaste, attached to their domestic affairs, good, 
and obedient to their own husbands." 

" The young men were also taught to be discreet, and 
of a sober mind." 

" The servants to be obedient to their own masters, to 
please them well in all things, without contradiction or 
gainsaying — not defrauding or making waste of their 
masters' substance, but showing all good fidelity." See 
Tit. ii. 1 — 10. And all this was grounded on their 
having received " that grace of God that bringeth salva- 
tion to all men ; teaching them that, denying all ungodli- 
ness and worldly desires, they might live discreetly, right- 

A DISCOURSE ON JOEL II. 28, 29, 32. 309 

eously, and godly in the present world, looking for the 
blessed hope and glorious appearing of the great God, 
and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for 
them, that he might redeem them from all unrighteous- 
ness, and cleanse to himself a peculiar people, zealous 
of good works/' Tit. ii. 11 — 14. Thus the Holy Spirit 
was poured out upon all, not only to save them from 
their sins, but to make them wise, holy, and useful. 
And while the Christian church was faithful to its call- 
ing and privileges, thus it was with them. 

And to the present hour the same Spirit is poured 
out upon that church in all its members ; for also upon 
the servants and upon the handmaids he pours out his 
Spirit in these days ; and St. Peter, who lived to witness 
the initiatory fulfilment of this divine oracle, adds, kcu 
TrpoQqrfwovmv, " and they shall prophesy ;" instead of 
being slaves, as they in general were among the Jews, 
they were the f reed-men and J 'reed-women of Christ, and 
were eligible to some of the most useful offices in the 
church. For in the Christian church, whether they were 
male or female, bond or free, their grace being equal, 
they were all one in Christ Jesus. 

This prophecy may be considered as a general promise, 
that the gifts of teaching and instructing men should not 
be restricted to any one class or order of the people ; 
that God would call as he pleased, and qualify the men 
of his choice ; and should take such out of all ranks, 
orders, degrees, and offices in society; and would pour 
out his Spirit upon them, and endow them with all the 
gifts and graces necessary to convert sinners, and build 
up believers on their most holy faith. 

And this God has done and is doing. He left the line 
of Aaron, and took his apostles indiscriminately out of 
any tribe. He passed by the regular order of the priest- 
hood, and the public schools of the most celebrated doc- 



tors, and took his evangelists from among fishermen, 
tent-makers, and even the Roman tax-gatherers. And 
lastly, he passed by the whole of the Jewish tribes, and 
took converts from among the Gentiles, and made them 
preachers of righteousness to the inhabitants of the whole 
earth ! The same practice he continues to the present 

Yet he did not then pass by a man that was brought 
up at the feet of Gamaliel ; no more than he would now 
pass by one brought up in any celebrated seminary of 
learning. He is ever free to use his own gifts, in his own 
way ; and when learning is sanctified by being devoted 
to the service of God, and the possessor is pious and hum- 
ble, and has those natural gifts proper for a public teacher", 
perhaps we may safely assert that God would in many 
cases prefer such : but he will have others, servants and 
/mndtnaids, persons from the common offices of life, as 
intimated in the prophecy, that we may see that the con- 
version of sinners is not by human might nor power, but 
by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts. The learned man 
can do no good in the church without his Spirit, and the 
unlearned must have its gifts and graces ; without which 
the labours of both will be unprofitable : and thus the 
excellence of the power is of God, and no flesh can 
glory in his presence. 

It is said here, that when this outpouring shall take 
place, "The old men shall dream dreams; and the young 
men see visions." On this passage, the Rev. John Wes- 
ley has a sensible note, viz. : " In young men, the out- 
ward senses are most vigorous, and the bodily strength is 
entire, whereby they are best qualified to sustain the 
shock which usually attends the visions of God. In old 
men, the internal senses are most vigorous, suited to 
divine dreams. Not that the old are wholly excluded 
from the former, nor the young from the latter." In pri- 

A DISCOURSE ON JOEL II. 28, 29, 32. 311 

mitive times, such dreams and visions were frequent. The 
canon of Scripture was not yet complete ; and super- 
natural interventions were requisite, in order to conduct 
the apostles, &c. in their work. 

Something more particular should be said concerning 
the instruments which this Spirit employs in his great 

The instruments which God used, in the primitive out- 
pouring of his Spirit, for preaching the gospel among the 
Gentiles, are thus enumerated by Saint Paul, Eph. iv. 
11, 12, " God gave some apostles, some prophets, some 
evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the per- 
fecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for 
the edifying of the body of Christ." 

And in 1 Cor. xii. 28 he mentions the same in the fol- 
lowing order : — 

"God hath set some in the church, 1st, Apostles; 
2dly, Prophets ; 3dly, Teachers ; after that miracles, then 
gifts of healings, helps, governments, and diversity of 

Thus we see that God established several offices in his 
church, furnished these with the proper officers, and, to 
qualify them for their work, gave them the proper gifts. 
On this subject St. Paul's reasoning is beautiful and ap- 
propriate. As the members in the human body, so the 
different members of the mystical body of Christ : all 
are intended by him to have the same relation to each 
other — to be mutually subservient to each other. He 
has also made, as in the human body, each member of 
the church necessary to the beauty, proportion, strength, 
and perfection of the whole. Not one is useless; not 
one unnecessary. Paul, Apollos, Cephas, &c, with all 
their variety of gifts and graces, are " for the perfecting 
of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edi- 
fying of the body of Christ." Hence, no teacher should 


be exalted above, or opposed to another. As the eye 
could not say to the hand, I have no need of thee ; so 
luminous Apollos could not say to laborious Paul, "I can 
build up and preserve the church without thee." As the 
foot planted on the ground to support the whole fabric — 
and as the hands which swing at liberty — and the eye 
that is continually taking in near and distant objects, 
are all equally necessary to the whole, and mutually 
helpfuf to and dependant on each other; so also are 
the different ministers and members of the church of 
Christ. See St. Paul's beautiful apologue, 1 Cor. xii. 


Now as God has made evident distinctions among the 
members of the human body (though all are necessary 
to its perfection and support), so that some occupy a 
more eminent place than others ; so has he in the church : 
and this, the same Spirit which Joel predicted should be 
poured out, has himself prescribed : therefore St, Paul, 
who was under this influence, enumerates to the church 
at Corinth the principal offices, and the order in which 
they should stand. Some of these seem to belong ex- 
clusively to the primitive church, not being designed to 
continue, as not being necessary after the establishment 
of Christianity, and the completion of the canon of the 
New Covenant Scriptures. 

1. Apostles are St. Paul's first order — A.tto<tto\oi, from 
ano, from, and cmMw, / send, from one person to an- 
other, and from one place to another. Persons imme- 
diately designated by Christ, and sent by him to preach 
the gospel, with the knowledge of which they were fully 

2. Prophets — Upo^rai, from irpo, before, and <j> ni u, I 
speak. Persons who, under divine inspiration, predict 
future events : under the apostolic church, there were 
several of these. But the word prophet often, if not 

A DISCOURSE ON JOEL II. 28, 29, 32. 313 

generally, means a public teacher or instructor ; and is 
often applied to those who preached the gospel. See 

3. Teachers, AidaaicaXoi, from the verb cWacncw, / teach. 
Persons whose chief business it was to instruct the peo- 
ple in the elements of the Christian religion, and their 
duty to each other. 

These were the chief permanent officers in the church ; 
those mentioned after were occasional, and not perma- 
nent in any particular order or succession ; such as mira- 
cles, which seems to imply persons endued with miracu- 
lous gifts, such as those mentioned Mark xvi. 17, 18; 
casting out devils ; gifts of healings, — such as laying 
hands upon the sick, which being one of the most 
beneficent miraculous powers, was most frequently con- 

Helps: probably the assistants of the apostles, who 
constantly accompanied them, baptized those whom they 
converted, and were sent by them to such places as the 
apostles could not attend to, being otherwise employed 
The Levites, under the law were considered the helpers 
of the priests. 

Governments. Probably persons who formed the dif- 
ferent churches, arranging them in religious society 
according to their respective graces and gifts, and pre- 
serving them in a state of union by proper discipline. 

Diversities of tongues. Persons who had a supernatural 
readiness to acquire strange languages; or who had a 
miraculous power of speaking and interpreting those they 
had not learned 

Discerning of spirits is mentioned by the apostle in 
ver. 10 of this same chapter : this probably means a gift 
by which the person so privileged could discern a false 
miracle from a true one, or a pretender to divine inspi- 


ration fjom one who was really a partaker of the Holy 
Ghost. It probably extended to the discernment of 
false professors from true ones, as appears in the case of 
Peter, in reference to Ananias and his wife Sapphira, 
Simon Magus, &c. 

It has been thought strange by some, that in this enu- 
meration only three distinct officers in the church should 
be mentioned, apostles, prophets, and teachers — though he 
is professedly giving us an account of all the officers and 
gifts necessary for the constitution of a Christian church ; 
and that no mention is made of bishops, presbyters, 
or deacons, much less of the various officers and offices 
which the Christian church at present exhibits. That 
there were bishops, Etthtkoitoi, presbyters or elders, Ilp£<r- 
PvTtpoi, and deacons, Aiaicovoi, in the apostolic church, is 
sufficiently evident from other parts of Scripture. Perhaps 
bishops are here included under apostles ; presbyters, 
under prophets ; and deacons, under teachers ; but in 
several cases bishops and presbyters seem to be the same 

There are still, in the Christian church, those who 
answer to the character of apostles — persons sent of God 
to preach the gospel ; and this sending appeared by espe- 
cial providences, as well as by the gifts and graces given 
to the persons, together with the strong and incessant 
impression on their own minds, that a dispensation of 
the gospel was committed unto them, and woe would 
betide them if they did not preach it. 

Prophets may include the ordinary ministers of any 
Christian church; those appointed by that church ac- 
cording to its own discipline, or peculiar customs, 
whether Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Independent, or Me- 
thodist : but God will ever reserve to himself the pre- 
rogative of sending apostles or extraordinary ministers 

A DISCOURSE ON JOEL II. 28, 29, 32. 315 

among or from all those different classes ; the success of 
whose labours will ascertain the certainty of their divine 
mission. ' 

As to teachers, or deacons, they abound in all 
churches, and about their office there is little dispute : 
they are under-ministers who visit and pray with the 
sick; help different departments of the church with 
counsel and advice ; examine the progress which those 
more immediately under their care are making in the 
divine life, reporting the internal state of the church to 
the prophet or preacher of that church ; that he may the 
better know how to suit his public ministrations to the 
necessities of the people. 

In Eph. iv. 11, St. Paul mentions evangelists, — those 
whose particular gift is manifest in their mode of preach- 
ing Christ crucified ; showing the nature, extent, worth, 
and efficacy of his agony and bloody sweat, his cross and 
passion, his death and burial, his glorious resurrection 
and ascension, and his powerful mediation at the throne 
of God. 

In the same place he mentions pastors and teachers : 
pastors are those who feed the flock — teachers are those 
who direct it. Probably the deacon implies both; at 
least in many cases both the offices seem to be so incor- 
porated, as to be discharged by the same person. 

Such were the officers which the Holy Spirit influenced 
and directed in those offices, in which he designed they 
should act, for the fulfilment of the work of the minis- 
try. But in process of time, the offices were greatly 
blended, till at last distinction was nearly, if not alto- 
gether lost ; so that in the present day, we can scarcely 
dare to say such and such were the duties discharged by 
those officers whose official names we borrow from the 
Greek original of the new covenant : such as apostle^ 
prophet, presbyter, bishop, deacon, evangelist, canon, &c. ; 

o 3 


but this ave know, that whatever tended to " the perfect- 
ing of the saints, for the work of the ministry, and for 
the edifying of the body of Christ ; that all might come 
in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the 
Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the 
stature of the fulness of Christ ;" was performed by those 
who are here called apostles, prophets, evangelists, pas- 
tors, and teachers. 

IV. I come now to consider the deliverance which 
the prophet foretels, as the consequence of the pouring 
out of the Holy Spirit : " For whosoever shall call upon 
the name of the Lord, shall be delivered ; for in Mount 
Zion and Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath 
said," ver. 32. On this passage Bishop Newcome says, 
" This refers to the safety of the Christians during the 
Jewish and the Roman war." It may be so, but this 
would be a very poor consequence of such an event as 
the prophet predicts here, were there nothing more in- 
tended by it. The pouring out such an abundance of the 
gifts and the graces of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh, 
can be but ill explained by the escape of a few hun- 
dred Christians from Jerusalem, at the time that Cestius 
Gallus, the Roman general, began to lay siege to that 
city. That such an escape took place, we have respect- 
able authority to believe ; and that this escape from the 
Roman sword might point out metaphorically the escape 
of those who, by invoking the name of the Lord Jesus 
Christ, escape from the wrath of Divine justice, and the 
bitter pains of eternal death; and we shall find that 
we have apostolic authority thus to apply it: "Who- 
soever shall call on the name of the Lord." The ori- 
ginal will give us extra light on this passage, iu>n bs rvm 
ubn" mrr oua trip* vehaiyah col asher t/ikra beshem Yeho- 
vah yimmakt) " And it shall be, that all who invoke in 
the name of Jehovah shall escape." St. Paul quotes 

A DISCOURSE ON JOEL II. 28, 29, 32. 317 

this verse, Rom. x. 14. I shall take the context from 
ver. 9. " If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord 
Jesus, and shalt helieve in thine heart that God hath 
raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." — "For 
the Scripture saith, "Whosoever believeth on him shall 
not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the 
Jew and the Greek ; for the same Lord over all is rich 
unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call 
upon (t7nKa\e(Tr}Tai, shall invoke) the name of the Lord 
(o-w0)jff£rai), shall be saved." That Christ is the Jehovah 
here intended, seems evident from the apostle's quotation, 
and that he understood Joel as speaking concerning 
him ; and therefore his word, JLvpioQ, Lord, must answer 
to the prophet's word, mn s Yehovah, which by the way 
is no mean proof of the Godhead of Christ. If the 
text be translated, Whosoever shall invoke in the name of 
the Lord, which translation the Hebrew will easily bear, 
yet still the term Jehovah, the incommunicable name. 
is given to Christ ; because invoking in the name signi- 
fies soliciting one in the name or on the account of an- 
other. He who is invoked is God ; He, in whose name 
he is invoked, is Jesus the Christ, who is here called 
Jehovah : and then we see that the meaning of the 
Holy Spirit, both in the prophet and apostle, is, He who 
asks mercy from God, in the name and for the sake of 
Jesus Christ, shall get his soul saved. "God was in 
Christ reconciling the world to himself; and there is no 
name given under heaven among men by which they 
can be saved, nor is there salvation in any other." And 
as the prophet speaks of the days of the Messiah, 
and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, he speaks of 
this salvation ; for this is the sum and substance of the 

The prophet adds, " For in Mount Zion, and in Jeru- 
salem, shall be deliverance." Our blessed Lord first 


began to preach his gospel in Mount Zion, in the temple, 
and throughout Jerusalem. There he formed his church; 
and thence he sent his apostles and evangelists to every 
part of the globe : " Go ye into all the world, and preach 
the gospel to every creature." Of the Jews, there was 
but a remnant — a very small number, that received the 
doctrine of the gospel; here called "the remnant whom, 
the Lord should call," tnp kore, whom he was calling. 
Many were called who would not obey ; but they who 
obeyed the call were saved ; and still he delivers from 
sin, and death, and hell, all those who call upon him. 


I have now taken a particular view of this prophecy, 
and of the several references to it in the New Testament; 
and have seen that it speaks of the glory of the gospel 
times, which are represented in the sacred writings as 
the last and latter day or days — the last times ; that is, 
the last dispensation of God's justice and mercy ; that to 
which all the preceding dispensations referred — in which 
they are all completed — and after which no other is ever 
to take place ; as this has provided everything that the 
justice of God requires, and everything that the fallen 
race of man needs, in order to its full restoration to the 
image of God, and its complete preparation for an eternal 

Of this grand event Isaiah, chap. ii. 2, 3, speaks in 
nearly similar language: "And it shall come to pass, 
a-vn mnxn beacharith hayamim, in the last days, that 
the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in 
the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the 
hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many 
people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the 
mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob ; 

a discourse on joel ii. 28, 29, 32. 319 

and he will teach us of his ways ; and we will walk in 
his paths : for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and 
the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." 

The prophet Micah, chap. iv. 1, &c, about fifty years 
after this, quotes this place of Isaiah at length, manifestly 
referring to the same times ; and most likely the prophet 
Ezekiel has the same event in view in chap. xvii. 22 — 24, 
and xxxviii. Hosea, chap. iii. 1 — 5, manifestly refers 
to the gospel times with a similar phraseology; see ver. 
5 : " Afterward, inx achar, shall the children of Israel 
return and seek the Lord their God, and David their 
king, and shall fear the Lord and his goodness," mnx:i 
□*dti beacharith hayamim, " in those latter days." And 
all these have a reference to, and seem founded upon, 
the prophecy which Jacob, Gen. xlix. 1, &c, delivered 
to his sons : " And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, 
Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what 
shall befall you, d-dti nnnxa beacharith hayamim, in those 
latter days ?" and in the tenth verse we have that re- 
markable prediction of the Messiah, and the glorious 
spread of his kingdom : " The sceptre shall not depart 
from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until 
Shiloh come ; and unto him shall be the gathering of the 

St. Paul seems to have had all the above places in 
view, Heb. i. 1,2: " God, who at sundry times, and in 
divers manners, spake in times past unto the fathers by 
the prophets, hath in these last days tir iayaruv tuv TJpepm' 
tovtwv, spoken unto us by his Son." 

The beloved disciple, also, uses the same phraseology, 
speaking of the same things, 1 John ii. 18 : " Little 
children, it is the last time, tvx aTt l wpa tan, and as ye 
have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now there 
are many Antichrists ; whereby we know 6™ io%ari\ wpa 


ivtiv, thai it is the last time" St. Paul calls these times 
"the ends of the world," 1 Cor. x. 11. 

Now the glory of the latter days is evidently the re- 
velation of Christ, and the universal pouring out of his 
Spirit ; for as he, by the grace of God, tasted death for 
every man, Heb. ii. 9 ; and his grace, which brings sal- 
vation to all men, hath appeared, Tit. ii. 11 ; so the 
Holy Spirit was " to convince the world of sin, right- 
eousness, and judgment," John xvi. 8; to bear witness 
in the conscience of what Christ delivered in his dis- 
courses ; to purify the hearts of men, and make them 
habitations of God, Eph. ii. 22. As the disgrace of man 
in all times was sin and rebellion against God, so the 
glory of these latter times is the redemption of man from 
its power, its guilt, and its pollution; so that faith, 
working by love, should fill the whole life with a cheer- 
ful obedience. Nor are we in any times to expect a 
greater or more efficacious Saviour than Jesus Christ; 
nor a more powerful and energetic Agent than the Holy 
Ghost, the Spirit of judgment, and the Spirit of burning. 
Nor do I find in any part of the divine oracles that there 
is any reserve of this Spirit, in his gifts and graces, for 
some future times ; nor do I find from these sacred re- 
cords, that there is one ray of his light, or spark of his 
influence, that may not be had now, for all the purposes 
of salvation from sin here, and glorification hereafter, in 
as abundant a manner as can be expected, between this 
present hour, and that in which the angel shall swear by 
Him who liveth for ever and ever, that time shall be no 

I hold also, that those who are absurdly putting off 
the day of salvation, in expectation of any outpouring 
of God's Spirit that may not now be had through Christ, 
by faith and prayer, are rejecting their own mercies, are 

A DISCOURSE ON JOEL II. 28, 29, 32. 321 

encompassing themselves with sparks of their own 
kindling, and shall lie down in sorrow in consequence. 

It is truly an astonishing thing that men will prefer 
hope to enjoyment ; and rather content themselves with 
blessings in prospect than in possession. Thousands, in 
their affections, conversation, and conduct, are wandering 
after an undefined and undefinable period, commonly 
called a millennial glory, while expectation is paralyzed, 
and prayer and faith restrained in reference to present 
salvation : and yet none of these can tell what even a 
day may bring forth ; for now we stand on the verge of 
eternity : and because it is so, now is the accepted time, 
and now is the day of salvation. 

These are the times in which Christ offers to dwell in . 
the hearts of all true believers by faith, that they may 
be rooted and grounded in love, and prove with all saints 
what is the length, and breadth, and depth, and height, 
and know the love of God that passeth knowledge, and 
be filled with all the fulness of God ! Is there anything 
greater than this to be expected or obtained on this side 
eternity ? Can our hearts be more than filled ? Can 
our souls be filled with more than all the fulness of God ? 
These are the days of the Son of man; now is the 
Holy Spirit given in his plenitude ; never were there 
times more favourable ; never were spiritual advantages 
more numerous; never was the light more abundant; 
never were the Holy Scriptures more extensively dis- 
persed; and never were their contents better understood. 
"We have not that time which is looked for under the 
misapprehended title of millennial glory ; and yet the 
whole earth is in the way of being filled with the know- 
ledge of God ! Reader, lay these things to heart ; now 
arise, and shake thyself from the dust : — we have seen 
the land, and behold it is very good ; and are ye still ? 


Be not slothful to go and enter to possess the land. 
Awake, awake ; put on thy strength, O Zion ; put on 
thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the Holy City ; for 
henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncir- 
cumcised and the unclean. Death is at the door ; hut 
the power of the Lord is present to heal. Thou, who 
dwellest between the cherubim, shine forth ! Amen. 



Hebrews xi. 6. 

" He that cometh unto God must believe that he is, and that he 
is a rewarder of them who diligently seek him." 

I. Metaphysicians and philosophers, in order to 
prove the existence of God, have used two modes of 
argumentation : — 

A priori, — proofs drawn from the necessity that such 
a Being as God is must exist. Arguments of this kind 
do not produce anything in evidence which is derived 
from his works. 

A posteriori, — proofs of the being and perfections of 
God, drawn from his own works. 

Propositions a Priori. 

Prop. I. — If there be no one being in the universe 
but such as might possibly not have existed, it would 
follow, that there might possibly have been no existence 
at all ; and if that could be so, it would be also possible 
that the present existence might have arisen from total 
non-existence, which is absurd. Therefore, it is not 
possible that there might have been no existence at all. 
Consequently, an impossibility of not existing must be 


found somewhere ; there must have been a Being whose 
non-existence is impossible. 

II. The whole nature of an unoriginated Being, or 
aggregate of his attributes, must be unoriginated, and 
necessarily what it is. A being cannot produce its own 
attributes ; for this would suppose it acted before it ex- 
isted. There is nothing in the nature of this Being that 
is contingent, or could have been otherwise than it is ; 
for whatever is contingent must have a cause to deter- 
mine its mode of existence. 

III.' — The attributes of an unoriginated Being must 
be possessed by it unlimitedly ; for to possess an attribute 
imperfectly, or only in a certain degree, must suppose 
some cause to have modified this Being, so as to make 
him incapable of having that attribute in any other than 
an imperfect degree. But no cause can be admitted in 
this case, because this is the first of all beings, and the 
cause of all things. Farther, an imperfect attribute, or 
any one that is not in its highest degree, must be capable 
of improvement by exercise and experience; which 
would imply that the unoriginated Being must be origi- 
nally imperfect ; and that he was deriving farther degrees 
of perfection from the exercise of his own powers, and 
acquaintance with his own works. 

IV. — The unoriginated Being must exist everywhere, 
in the same manner he does anywhere ; for if he did 
not, it would suppose some cause by which his presence 
was limited ; but there can be no cause to limit that pre- 
sence. See before. 

V This unoriginated Being must be a simple uncom- 
pounded substance, identically the same everywhere; 
not consisting of parts, for these must be distinct and 
independent ; nor of whole, for this is the aggregate of 
parts ; nor of magnitude or quantity, for these signify a 
composition of parts. This Being must be as truly one 


and omnipresent, as the present moment of time is indi- 
visibly one in all places at once ; and can no more be 
limited or measured by time, than the present moment 
can by duration. 

Hence this Being cannot be matter or body, because 
to these belong extension, divisibility, figurability, and 
mobility, which imply limitation. God and matter have 
essentially contrary properties. 

God is not material. It has already been shown, that 
there necessarily must exist one infinite, unoriginated, 
and eternal Being. Now this Being must be a thinking 
Being ; for it is as impossible to conceive that unthink- 
ing matter could produce a thinking, intelligent Being, 
as it is to conceive that nothing can produce matter. 

Let us suppose any parcel of matter to be eternal, we 
shall find it in itself unable to produce anything. Let 
us suppose its parts firmly at rest together ; if there were 
no other being in the world, must it not eternally remain 
so, a dead, inactive lump? Is it possible to conceive 
that it can add motion to itself, or produce it in other 
portions of matter? Matter, therefore, by its own 
strength, cannot produce in itself so much as motion. 
The motion it has must also be from eternity, or else 
added to matter by some other being more powerful than 

But let us suppose motion eternal too; yet matter, 
unthinking matter, and motion, could never produce 
thought. Knowledge will still be as far beyond the 
power of motion and matter to produce, as matter is 
beyond the power of nothing to produce. Divide matter 
into as minute parts as you will, vary the figure and 
motion of it as much as you please, it will operate no 
other way upon other bodies of proportionate bulk than 
it did before this division. The minutest particles of 
matter would impel or resist one another, just as the 


greater ^o; and that is all that they can do. So that if 
we will suppose nothing eternal, matter can never begin 
to he. If we suppose hare matter, without motion, 
eternal ; then motion can never begin to be. If we 
suppose only matter and motion eternal, then thought 
can never begin to be. For, it is impossible to conceive 
that matter, either with or without motion, could have 
originally, in and from itself, sense, perception, and 
knowledge ; as is evident from hence, that sense, percep- 
tion, and knowledge must be properties eternally sepa- 
rate from matter, and every particle of it. 

Since, therefore, whatsoever is the first eternal Being 
must necessarily be a thinking Being, and whatsoever is 
first of all things must necessarily contain in it, and 
actually have, at least, all the perfections that can ever 
after appear to exist ; it necessarily follows that the first 
eternal Being cannot be matter. 

VI. This Being must possess intelligence and power 
unlimited, and all other attributes that are in themselves 
absolute perfections. 

Attributes are divided into natural and moral, or 
primary and secondary. The first are those which essen- 
tially belong to the nature of a Being considered in 
itself; the second in its manner of acting towards others. 
All the attributes of God being uncontingent, must be 
unlimited ; and therefore his knowledge must extend to 
everything that can be known, and his power to every- 
thing that can be done. 

VII. There cannot be in the universe more than one 
unoriginated Being; for as this Being is possessed of 
infinite atttributes, let us suppose a second unoriginated 
Being. He must possess the same; for both these 
Beings are eternal, and necessarily the same, every- 
where alike present, without any possible difference or 
distinction, and therefore one and the same. Two such. 


cannot subsist; and the" supposition of a second such 
Being is only a mental repetition of the being and attri- 
butes of the first. 

YIII. All things owe their existence to their First 
Cause, operating according to its own free will. Abso- 
lute power does not act of necessity, but freely ; the 
power may exist without exertion ; if it did not, then 
it acts by necessity ; and if so, necessity is the agent, 
and not the free power of the independent God. He 
can do what he will, but he will do only what is 
right, &c. 

The like may be said of his omniscience. He knows 
himself, and what he has formed, and what he can do ; 
but is not necessitated to know as certain what himself 
has made contingent. If God must continually act 
because he is omnipotent, and know because he is 
omniscient ; then does not this imply that he must be 
constantly employed in doing or undoing whatever is 
possible to be done or undone, and knowing all that is, 
and all that can be, and what cannot be ? Is not this 
absurd ? 

From the above we may infer another proposition, 
which may serve as a connecting principle between argu- 
ments a priori and a posteriori, viz. : 

IX. God is a Being of infinite goodness, wisdom, 
mercy, justice, and truth ; and all other perfections 
which become the Framer and Governor of the universe. 

Goodness consists in being pleased with communicat- 
ing happiness to others. 

Wisdom, in making a right or beneficent use of know- 
ledge or power ; for no being, howsoever intelligent or 
powerful, is said to act wisely, but that which makes a 
good or beneficent use of knowledge and power. Hence 
wisdom and goodness must be ever conjoined to make 
any act of power perfect. As he is wise, he knows 


what is best to be done ; powerful, he can do it ; good, 
he will no it. Justice, mercy, truth, or faithfulness, are 
not distinct attributes, but denominations given to his 
power and wisdom in their various operations on dif- 
ferent occasions, in reference to his creatures. 

God's liberty of acting : — his power and wisdom being 
infinite, he cannot be prevented by any outward cause ; 
his nature being essentially good, he can have no opposi- 
tion from within ; his power and all his other attri- 
butes being infinite, eternal, and consequently unlimited, 
can have no opposition from without ; and his liberty 
consists in his being free to act or not act, or infinitely, 
or limitedly, to vary his operations according to his 
own wisdom, goodness, and truth. See also the late 
Bishop of Ossory, Chevalier Ramsay, Dr. S. Clarke, and 

; Sketches of Proofs a Posteriori. 

Recapitulation of the preceding Propositions. 

II. In the argument a priori, in order to demonstrate 
the being of a God, it was attempted to prove that there 
must have been a Being whose non-existence is impos- 
sible. In arguing on this subject it has been shown, 

1. That this Being was unoriginated. 

2. That all his attributes must also be unoriginated. 

3. That these attributes must be unlimited, and abso- 
lutely perfect. 

4. That this Being must exist everywhere, in the 
same manner he does anywhere. 

5. That he is simple and uncompounded ; not con- 
sisting of parts, nor of whole, nor of magnitude, nor of 

6. That he must possess intelligence and power un- 
limited ; and all other attributes that are in themselves 
absolute perfections. 


7. That there cannot be in the universe any more than 
one such unoriginated, simple, and infinite Being. 

8. That all things owe their existence to this First 
Cause, operating, not according to any kind of necessity, 
but according to its own free will. And, — 

9. That as, in all his operations, all his attributes 
must concur and combine ; so all the works of his hands 
must bear the impress of wisdom and goodness ; of that 
wisdom which consists in making a right use of know- 
ledge and power — using both beneficially ; of that good- 
ness which consists in being pleased with communicating 
happiness to others. 

Hence may be deduced Creation — the plan of which 
proceeded from his wisdom ; the execution from his 
power ; and the result a proof of his goodness. 

From these data we might proceed to prove the being 
of a God, and his beneficence and moral government of 
the world a posteriori — arguing from the effects to the 

And, first, a Being of infinite wisdom must be ex- 
pected to form his works so as to evidence that wisdom 
in their multiplicity, variety, internal structure, arrange- 
ment, connexions, and dependencies ; and, consequently, 
that these works must be in many respects inscrutable 
to man. And this, as they are his works, must be one 
of their characteristics. 

Whether there be any other kind of beings than 
spiritual and material, and such as are of a mixed nature, 
we cannot tell; but we have no ideas of any other 
kinds, nor can we conceive the possibility of the exist- 
ence of any other ; as we have no ideas of any figure 
that is not formed of straight or curved lines, or a 
mixture of both. 

God, the uncreated Spirit, manifests himself by ma- 


terial substances. Created spirits must be manifested in 
the a&me way; and though matter may exist without 
spirit, and spirit without matter, yet, without the latter, 
spirit cannot become manifest. Hence matter appears 
to have been created for the use of spirit or intellectual 

Creation, in general, demonstrates the being of a 

The solar system, and plurality of worlds ; magni- 
tude, distances, velocity, and gravity of the celestial 
bodies ; projectile and centripetal forces ; centre of gra- 
vity ; ellipsis ; double and treble motion ; attraction ; all 
demonstrate the wisdom, power, and goodness of God. 

Vegetation — Plants ; trees ; circulation of nutritious 
juices ; composition of ligneous fibres ; dissolution and 
regeneration of terrestrial productions. 

Preservation of genera and species is a demonstra- 
tion of infinite skill, and of the wisest and most benefi- 
cent providence. 

Man. — Life ; nutrition ; sleep ; the senses, particularly 
vision and muscular motion ; each furnishes a series of 
irresistible arguments. 

The heart, and the circulation of the blood, afford 
the most striking proofs ; and on this point let the reader 
particularly fix his attention. 

In a healthy state, the heart makes eighty pulsations 
in a minute ; and it is calculated that from two ounces 
to two ounces and a half of blood are expelled into the 
aorta at each pulsation; consequently, at least nine 
thousand six hundred ounces will be thrown into the 
aorta in an hour, which would amount to one thousand 
four hundred and forty pounds in one day ! 

At each pulsation this quantum of blood is propelled 
eight inches, which amounts to fifty feet in a minute ! 


The quantity of blood in a human body is, on an average, 
about thirty pounds, and passes through the heart about 
twenty-three times in the space of one hour. 

A weight of fifty pounds hung to the foot, the leg laid 
across the opposite knee, was raised by the action of the 
popliteal artery. Allowing for the distance from the 
centre of motion, this proves that the heart must possess 
a power of at least four hundred pounds ! 

The blood circulates by pressure from behind, occa- 
sioned thy the action of the heart, which pressure, having 
propelled it, according to the laws of gravity, to the ex- 
tremities, reconducts it, contrary to those laws, back to 
the heart. How is this effected ? It has been supposed 
that the arteries contribute much to the circulation of 
the blood ; were it even so, it would be comparatively 
useless, as they cease where such an auxiliary power is 
most wanting, at the extremities, where their anastomosis 
with the veins takes place ; and the veins are not sup- 
posed to possess any such propelling power. 

But that the arteries possess no such power, Bichat 
has proved by the following experiment. He took the 
arm of a dead man, placed it in warm water, inserted 
one end of a tube in the brachial artery, and the other 
end in the carotid artery of a living dog ; the blood cir- 
culated in the dead arm, the pulse of which beat regu- 
larly by the action of the heart of the living animal. 
Is there not a wondrous and especial providence of God, 
by which this is effected ? 

Others have attributed the pulsation of the heart itself 
to the stimulating nature of the blood. Bichat has dis- 
proved this by the following experiments : 

1. Expose the heart of an animal, and empty it ; 
apply a stimulus to its muscles, and it will dilate, and 
contract, as if it were full. 

2. Puncture all the large vessels connected with the 
vol. ii. p 


heart, go as to empty it entirely ; and the alternate con- 
tractions and dilations will continue for some time, not- 
withstanding the total absence of the blood. 

3. Remove two hearts of equal bulk from two living 
animals ; place the fingers in the ventricles of the one, 
and grasp the other in the opposite hand, and it will be 
found that the effort of the latter in its dilation, is as 
forcible as the other in its contraction. 

Incessant action of the heart. Its unweariedness. 
What exhausts all other muscles appears to increase its 
action and its force ! Can any person conceive how it 
is possible that a muscle can be in incessant action for 
threescore, fourcore, or a hundred years, without any 
kind of weariness ? There is nothing in nature that can 
well explain this. Over its motion the mind has no 
power. This is wisely ordered ; as many, in momentary 
fits of caprice, despair, and passion, would suspend the 
circulation, and thus put an end to their lives. 

Providence, or the economical government of God, in 
the provision for men and animals. Never too much ; 
never too little ; the produce of the earth being ever in 
proportion to the consumers ; and the consumers to that 

Redemption. — 1. As all things are intimately known 
to God, he must know wherein the happiness of human 
beings consists, and may, from his goodness, be expected 
to make every provision for that happiness. 

2. Every sentient creature is capable of happiness or 

3. No creature can choose a state of misery for itself, 
because no creature can desire to be unhappy. 

4. If any being could choose that state for another, he 
must be led to it by some motive which may make it 
eligible or desirable; and this must spring from his 
envy, jealousy, fear, or a conviction that the wretched- 


ness of the other will contribute to his own happiness. 
None of these can exist in God, the Creator; conse- 
quently, he must he supposed to have made man for 
happiness. His counsels never change ; and, therefore, 
when man had fallen, he provided him a Saviour : this 
might he naturally expected from his infinite bene- 

The moral changes made in sinners, are proofs of the 
being, agency, goodness, and presence of God. 

Man's existence is a proof of the Being of God ; he 
feels himself to be the effect of a Cause, and that Cause 
to be wise, powerful, and good. There is evidently no 
cause in nature capable of producing such an effect, for 
no operation of nature can produce mind or intellect ; 
the wonderful structure of the body, and the astonish- 
ing powers of the mind, equally prove that God is our 
Maker, and that in him we live, move, and have our 

III. Astronomical phenomena, very difficult to be 
accounted for upon natural principles, are strong evi- 
dences of the being and continual agency of God. 

Phenomenon I. 

The motion of a planet in an elliptic orbit is truly 
wonderful, and incapable of a physical demonstration as 
to its commencement. From its aphelion, or greatest 
distance from the sun, or body round which it revolves, 
to its perihelion or least distance, its motion is con- 
tinually accelerated ; and from its perihelion to its aphe- 
lion as constantly retarded. From what source has the 
planet derived that power which it opposes to the solar 
attraction in such a manner that when passing from 
aphelion to perihelion, by a continued acceleration, it is 
prevented from making a nearer approach to the sun ? 
And, on the other hand, what influence prevents the 



planet, .after it has passed, by a continued retardation, 
from perihelion to aphelion, from going altogether out of 
the solar attraction, and causes it to return again to peri- 
helion? Sir Isaac Newton has fully answered these 
questions in his demonstration that this phenomenon is 
a necessary result of the laws of gravity and projectile 
forces ; it is worthy of observation that, to account for a 
planet's moving in an elliptic orbit, little differing from a 
circle, and having the sun in the lower focus, the pro- 
jectile force of the planet, or the power by which the 
projected body tends to move forward in a straight line, 
is shown to be nearly sufficient to counterbalance the 
planet's gravitating power, or, which is the same -thing, 
the attraction of the central body ; for the demon- 
stration, the particulars of which are too complicated to 
be here detailed, puts us in possession of the following 
facts : — If a planet be projected in a direction exactly 
perpendicular to the line joining it and the central body, 
with a velocity equal to what it would acquire by falling 
half way to the centre by attraction alone, it will describe 
a circle round the central body. If the velocity of pro- 
jection be greater than this, but not equal to what the 
planet would acquire in falling to the centre, it will 
move in an elliptical orbit more or less eccentric, accord- 
ing to the greater or less degree of projectile force. If 
the velocity of projection be equal to that which the 
planet would acquire in falling to the central body, it 
will move in a parabola ; if greater than this, in a hyper- 
bola. Now it cannot be demonstrated upon physical 
principles that a planet should have a certain projectile 
force, and no other ; or, which is the same, that it should 
be projected with a given velocity and direction ; for it 
is a law of nature, ably demonstrated by Newton in his 
Principia, that all bodies have such an indifference to 
rest or motion, that, if once at rest, they must remain 


eternally so, unless acted upon by some power sufficient 
to move them ; and that a body once put in motion will 
proceed of itself ever after in a straight line, if not 
diverted out of this rectilinear course by some influence. 
Every planetary body has a certain projectile force ; 
therefore, some previously existing cause must have com- 
municated it. The planets have not only a projectile 
force, but this power is at the same time nearly a counter- 
balance to its gravitation, or the attraction of the central 
body ; so that by virtue of these powers, thus harmo- 
niously united, the planets perform their revolutions in 
orbits nearly circular, with the greatest regularity. It 
hence follows, that the cause which has originally pro- 
jected the planets with a given velocity and direction, so 
as nearly to produce an equilibrium in the centrifugal 
and centripetal powers, is infinitely intelligent ; therefore 
this cause must be God. 

As all the planets move in orbits more or less ellip- 
tical, when they could have been made to move in 
circles by a particular adjustment of the attractive and 
projectile forces, the divine purpose must be best an- 
swered by the eccentric orbit. The habitable earth evi- 
dently derives very great advantage from the elliptical 
orbit, for in consequence of it the sun is seven or eight 
days of every year longer on the northern side of the 
ecliptic than he is on the southern; i. e., from the 21st 
of March, when he crosses the equator northward, to 
the 23rd of September, when he again returns to the 
equator, there are 186 days ; but from the 23rd of Sep- 
tember, or autumnal equinox, to the 21st of March, or 
vernal equinox, there are only 179 days. From this 
circumstance, the northern hemisphere, which it pleased 
God should contain by far the greatest portion of land, 
is considerably warmer towards the polar regions than in 


similarjatitudes towards the south pole, where an equal 
degree of temperature is not needed. Circumnavigators 
have not yet been able (because of the great cold of the 
south polar regions) to proceed beyond seventy-two or 
seventy-three degrees of south latitude; or, which is 
the same thing, to approach the south pole nearer than 
about 1200 miles ; but the northern frigid zone, possess- 
ing a greater temperature, has been explored to within 
about 600 miles of the pole, i. e., to nearly eighty-two 
degrees of north latitude. 

Phenomenon II. 

The double motion of a primary planet, namely, its 
annual revolution and diurnal rotation, is one of the 
greatest wonders the science of astronomy presents to 
our view. The laws which regulate the periods of the 
latter of these motions are so completely hidden from 
man, notwithstanding his present great extension of 
philosophic research, that the times which the planets 
employ in their rotations can only be determined by ob- 
servation. The first of these motions results from pro- 
jection and gravitation, and depends on the velocity and 
direction originally impressed on the planet : the second 
results from a force acting on the planet in a line not 
passing through the centre of gravity, while an opposite 
force is applied at the centre to prevent a change in the 
progressive motion. The period of rotation will depend 
on this oblique force, and be unvaried while uninfluenced 
by other causes, or by forces acting towards the same 
parts on both sides the centre. Hence the rotations of 
the planets will be uniform; but their existence and 
periods can be known only by observations. The astonish- 
ing accuracy with which celestial observations have been 


conducted within the last one hundred years, has enabled 
astronomers to demonstrate that the neighbouring planets 
very sensibly affect the figure of the earth's orbit, and 
consequently its motion in its orbit. Of this every one 
may be convinced who examines the calculus employed in 
ascertaining for any particular point of time the sun's place 
in the heavens ; or, which is the same thing, the point 
of the earth's orbit which is exactly opposed to the place of 
the earth in this orbit. Thus the maximum that the earth 
is affected by Venus, is nine seconds and seven-tenths 
of a degree; by Mars, six seconds and seven-tenths; 
and by Jupiter, eight seconds two-thirds, &c. But no 
astronomer since the foundation of the world has been 
able to demonstrate that the earths motion in the heavens 
is at all accelerated or retarded by the diurnal rotation ; 
or, on the other hand, that the earth's motion on its axis 
experiences the least irregularity from the annual revolu- 
tion. How wonderful is this contrivance ! and what 
incalculable benefits result from it ! The uninterrupted 
and equable diurnal rotation of the earth gives us day 
and night in their succession, and the annual revolution 
causes all the varied scenery of the year. If one motion 
interfered with the other, the return of day and night 
would be irregular, and the change of seasons attended 
with uncertainty to the husbandman. These two motions 
are therefore harmoniously impressed upon the earth, that 
the gracious promise of the great Creator might be ful- 
filled, "While the earth remaineth, seed-time and harvest, 
and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and 
night, shall not cease." The double motion of a secon- 
dary planet is still more singular than that of its primary ; 
for (taking the moon for an example), besides its parti- 
cular revolution round the earth, which is performed in 
twenty-seven days, seven hours, forty-three minutes, 
four seconds and a half; it is carried round the sun with 


the ear$i once every year. Of all the planetary motions 
with which we have a tolerable acquaintance, that of the 
moon is the most intricate : upwards of twenty equations 
are necessary in the great majority of cases, to reduce 
her mean to her true place. They depend on the differ- 
ent distances of the earth from the sun in its annual re- 
volution, the position of the lunar nodes, the moon's 
place in her orbit, and various other causes, including 
the effects of the planetary attractions. Who can form 
an adequate conception of that influence of the earth 
which thus draws the moon with it round the sun, pre- 
cisely in the same manner as if it were a loose or detached 
part of the earth's surface, notwithstanding the interven- 
ing distance of about two hundred and forty-thousand 
miles ; and, at the same time, leaves undisturbed the 
moon's proper motion round the earth ? And what bene- 
ficent purposes are subserved by this harmony ? In 
consequence of it we have the periodical returns of new 
and full moon ; and the ebbing and flowing of the sea, 
which depend on the various lunar phases, with respect 
to the sun and earth (as is demonstrable from each of 
these phases being continually contemporaneous with a 
particular phenomenon of the tides), these always suc- 
ceed each other with a regularity necessarily equal to 
that of the causes which produce them. These motions 
of rotation, and of a secondary planet about its primary,, 
clearly demonstrate the existence of a Supreme Intelli- 
gent Cause who first gave them birth. 

Phenomenon III. 

The impression of an inconceivably rapid motion upon 
the earth without disturbing, in the smallest degree, any 
thing upon its surface, or in the atmosphere which sur- 
rounds it, is another instance of the infinite wisdom of 
God. That principle Avith which God has endued the 


celestial bodies, in order to accomplish this end, is called 
gravity or attraction. The existence of this influence is 
easily demonstrable from the curious law which pervades 
all the bodies in the solar system, and probably every 
other body in the whole compass of space. This law, 
viz., that the squares of the periodic times of the planets 
are to each other as the cubes of their mean distances 
from the central body, was first discovered by Kepler, 
and afterwards demonstrated by Sir Isaac Newton, as 
the necessary result of a still more general law, viz., that 
gravitation is directly as the quantity of matter, and in- 
versely as the square of the distance. Thus, if the dis- 
tance of but one planet from the sun be known, and the 
periodic revolutions of the whole, the distance of each 
from the sun is easily ascertained. The mean distance 
of the earth from the sun has been found, by the transits 
of Venus, in 1761 and 1769, to be about ninety -five and 
and a half millions of English miles ; and the periodic 
times of all the planets are known by direct observation. 
Thus, to find the distance of Jupiter from the sun, 
nothing more is necessary than first to square the period 
of the earth, 365 days, 5 hours, 48f minutes ; and that 
of Jupiter, 11 years, 315 days, 14 hours and a half; and 
divide the greater product by the less, to find the pro- 
portion one bears to the other ; then to cube the earth's 
mean distance from the sun, 95^ millions, and multiply 
the cube by the proportion between the periodic times 
already found ;v and the cube root of the last product will 
be the distance required. By this means it was that the 
distances of the different planets from the sun, and of 
the satellites from the primaries (for this law extends to 
the satellites), have been calculated. From this law it 
is evident to every one that deeply considers this sub- 
ject, that the planets revolve in orbits by an influence 
emanating from the sun ; for the nearer a planet is to 



the sun, the swifter is its motion in its orbit, and vice 
versa. The singular phenomenon of a planet's describ- 
ing equal areas in equal times, results from the inability 
of bodies to change their state, combined with a force 
directed to the centre round which the areas are de- 
scribed. Thus, if a planet describe in twenty-four hours 
any arc of its orbit, and the area contained within that 
arc and two straight lines drawn from its extremities and 
meeting in the sun be ascertained ; it will be precisely 
equal to what the planet will describe in any other 
twenty-four hours, the greater or less quantity of the arc 
described being continually compensated by the less or 
greater extent of the straight lines including the respec- 
tive areas. We also find that, by virtue of these laws, 
the motion of a planet in its orbit is not decreased in 
arithmetical proportion to the increase of the distance 
from the central body ; for the hourly orbitical motion of 
the Georgium Sidus, for example, is only about five 
times slower than that of the earth, though its distance 
from the sun is full nineteen times greater. 

Every man may convince himself of the existence of 
gravity, by observing the phenomena attending falling 
bodies. Why is it that the velocity of a falling body is 
continually accelerated till it arrives on the earth ? We 
answer, that the earth continually attracts it; conse- 
quently, its velocity must be continually increasing as it 
falls. It is also observable that the nature of the influ- 
ence on falling bodies is precisely the same with that 
which retains the planets in their orbits : by numerous 
experiments it is found, that if the falling body descend 
towards the earth 16 feet in the first second (a state- 
ment very near the truth), it will fall through three 
times this space, or 48 feet, in the next second; five 
times this space, or 80 feet, in the third second ; seven 
times this space, or 112 feet, in the fourth second; nine 


times this space, or 144 feet, in the fifth second, &c. 
Hence the spaces fallen through are as the squares of 
the times of falling, i. e., in the first second the body falls 
16 feet; and in the next second 48 feet; consequently, 
the body falls as many feet in the two first seconds as is 
equal to the sum of these two numbers, viz., 64, which 
is 16 multiplied by 4, the square of 2, the number of 
seconds it took up in falling through the first 64 feet. 

The above is but a very brief account of the influence 
of this wonderful principle, which is universally diffused 
through nature, and capable of attracting every particle 
of matter, under all its possible modifications, and of im- 
parting to each substance, from the lightest gas to the 
most ponderous metal, that property which constitutes 
one body specifically heavier or lighter than another. 
To detail all the benefits which result from it, would be 
almost to give a history of the whole material creation. 
But it may be asked, What is gravity ? To the solution 
of this question natural philosophy is unable to lead us. 
Suffice it to say, all we know of gravity is its mode of 
operation, and that it is, like its Great Creator, an all- 
pervading and continued energy. Therefore, that it is, 
and not in what it consists, is capable of demonstra- 

I gladly borrow the conclusion of a very surprising 
and deeply scientific work, just now published, entitled, 
" A New Theory of Physics, founded on Gravitation ; 
applied to explain the Phenomena of Chemistry, Elec- 
tricity, Galvanism, Magnetism, and Electro-Magnetism. 
By T. Exley, M. A." 

" Of all the departments of natural philosophy, that of 
physical astronomy, at the first sight, would seem more 
than any other to be placed beyond the reach of our 
faculties ; but it is well known that there is none in 
which we have advanced with so much success, and de- 


monstrative certainty ; for this we are chiefly indebted 
to our illustrious countryman, Newton. From the ex- 
position of the laws of one single agent, the force of gra- 
vitation, all the movements of the solar system are 
developed, as well those of rotation as those which relate 
to their periodical revolutions, and even the anomalies 
and apparent irregularities are under the dominion and 
control of this power. Now, since we are satisfied of 
the existence of the principle of gravitation, and admit 
that it affects every atom of matter, we ought to examine 
the actions of bodies on each other at minute distances, 
with a view of finding what part of these actions is at- 
tributable to gravitation. Philosophers seem to have 
agreed to discard the operation of this force except at 
sensible distances; but if gravitation be not the sole 
agent, it must needs, at these exceedingly small dis- 
tances, act a very distinguished and important part, in 
producing the changes which are constantly going on in 
nature. Do not lose sight of gravitation ; and, by pur- 
suing this thread, you will be guided through the mazes 
of a most intricate labyrinth to a situation exceedingly 
near the seat of its activity. Here it will be seen that 
the whole mass of force presents its resistance equally, 
uniformly, and with immense effect on every side ; con- 
sequently this centre has every property of a solid sub- 
stratum, and there is no imaginable use, as far as we can 
perceive, for a solid nucleus, which is not answered by 
this concentrated force, this itself forms the solid part of 
matter. It is not here supposed that force acts against 
nothing, but against another opposing force; we know 
nothing of matter, but by the forces which it exerts, and 
which doubtless constitute its nature. Does any one 
ask, What is matter, and what is force ? It may be an- 
swered, Matter is force applied and exerted in a peculiar 
way ; and, reciprocally, force operating in a certain mode 


constitutes matter. Is the inquiry pursued, What is this 
force applied and exerted so as to constitute matter ? 
We cannot tell what is its essential nature, more than 
this, that it is a power acting against a similar power, 
and may be greater or less than the other, or equal to it, 
heing, as far as it respects matter, a wonderful act of the 
ever-living God, who worketh all things according to the 
counsels of his will. Every atom of matter, as will \e 
seen from the view we have given of it, was created or 
brought into existence by an operation of the almighty 
power of God, and continues to exist by his continued 
act, either immediate or mediate ; for the same power, 
which first produced this substance, is requisite to sus- 
tain or uphold it in existence. The inconceivable my- 
riads of atoms which are contained in bodies, tend to 
excite astonishment, and present before us an inexpress- 
ible sublimity. Here we see the act of creation and 
conservation ; and, when we extend our views to the in- 
numerable huge bodies which compose the universe, and 
to the multiplied millions of millions of atoms in each, 
with the united actions of their concentrated forces, we 
are prepared to say, that power belongeth to God alone. 
" There is no less evidence of supreme wisdom in the 
structure of matter ; the law of force, which constitutes 
its actions, is adapted peculiarly to preserve the exist- 
ence and constant harmony of the universe. The same 
law of force is equally subservient to maintain the beau- 
tiful order and motions of systems of worlds, and to 
regulate the various changes and modifications which 
bodies and atoms are designed to undergo in their con- 
nexions and combinations with each other. The all- 
powerful hand of the Creator would certainly have con^ 
stituted matter with forces varying by other very different 
laws ; but we can conceive of none which could have so 


completely answered the great ends of creation in the 
Constitution of the universe, and the regulations and 
organizations of its several parts. The same wisdom is 
seen in the variety of the atoms of matter, and the pro- 
portions of each sort ; none are in defect, none in excess ; 
and from the nature of their constituent forces there is 
a constant tendency to preserve the established order of 
tilings, according to the all-wise and infinite design. 
"We are easily led to perceive that it was in the mind of 
the Creator to form beings more elevated in nature than 
mere matter ; hence he has superadded a principle su- 
perior to that which has been the subject of this treatise — • 
I mean vegetable life. This, whatever it is, is associated 
with the seed of the plant, and directs the combinations 
of common mattery when put into suitable circumstances, 
according to the nature and species of the vegetable 
which is to be unfolded and matured. The principle of 
animal life is still more dignified. This principle is hid 
in the ovum, as that of the vegetable is in the seed. It 
directs the growth of the animal, as well as the pecu- 
liarities of its shape and organs; and the development 
of these reciprocally aids the principle itself, which be* 
comes capable of supporting and directing wonderful 
movements, actions, and instincts. The result shows 
that the Omnipotent Creator has purposed to form a 
being who should possess a nature far more transcendent 
than that of the mere animal ; one possessing an intelli- 
gent mind, capable of surveying his works, and of rising 
from the survey of these to their great Author. This 
did not escape the notice of the Roman poet, as stated 
in those well-known lines, — 

Sanctius his animal, mentisque capacius altae — 


Finxit in effigiem moderantum cuncta Deorum. 


Pronaque cum spectent animalia caetera terrain, 
Os homini sublime dedit ; coelumque tueri 
Jussit, et erectos ad sidera tollere vultus. 

Ovid, Metam. lib. i., 1. 76. 

" A creature of a more exalted kind 
Was wanting yet, and then was man designed : 
Conscious of thought, of more capacious breast, 
For empire formed, and fit to rule the rest : — 
Thus while the mute creation downward bend 
Their sight, and to their earthly mother tend, 
Man looks aloft, and with erected eyes 
Beholds his own hereditary skies." 


" The material part of the earth is adapted to nourish 
and maintain the vegetable world, and this serves to 
support the animal kingdom, while the whole contributes 
to the maintenance and pleasure of man in his present 
state. But the intelligent and rational principle is 
capable of more elevated enjoyments and exercises in 
the pursuit of truth, and the discernment of right and 
wrong; and still more in yielding due homage to his 
Creator, and in presenting cordial expressions of grati- 
tude, veneration, and worship. 

" It is very observable, however, that some disorder 
has affected the human race. We search in vain in the 
book of nature to ascertain either the cause or remedy 
of this evil. Revelation alone furnishes this most im- 
portant of all knowledge. The sacred Scriptures show 
us the path of life, and direct us in the right use and. 
management of nature in general, as it respects the pro- 
motion of our present and future felicity." 

All these things prove that there is a God not only 
infinitely powerful and intelligent, but also kind and mer- 
ciful, working all things according to the counsel of his will, 
and causing all his operations to result in the benefit of 
his creatures. They prove also that God is continually 


present, supporting all things by his energy; and that 
while Ms working is manifest, his ways are past finding 
out. Yet as far as he may be known, we should en- 
deavour to know him ; for " he that cometh unto God, 
mu,st know that he is." Without this it is not likely 
that any man will serve him ; for those alone who know 
him seek him ; and they only who put their trust in 
him can testify that "he is the re warder of them who 
diligently seek him." 

The eight propositions included in the argument a 
priori are formed totally independently of all considera- 
tions of the Divine Being in reference to his acts ; that 
is, to his attributes in energetic operation becoming causes 
of certain or any effects. They discover his being and 
several of his perfections, independently of his works. 
His being and perfections, argued from creation, providence, 
and redemption, belong to the argument a posteriori. 
Now though the above-mentioned propositions were 
conceived, stated, and argued, as if there were neither 
creation nor providence — nor even the existence of a 
revelation; yet by them his being, eternal, unoriginated, 
and independent, with many of his essential attributes, 
are clearly demonstrated ; and thus far we can go, being 
led by what is called the light of nature ; and it must 
be as edifying as it is pleasing to find that the Holy 
Scriptures assert precisely the same things of this Being. 
So that we have not only those things from revelation 
which we have been able to find out by reason or the 
light of nature, but beside them a multitude of others 
which lie far beyond the verge and limits of reason, or 
the light of nature — such as the creation, fall and re- 
demption of man, the immortality of the soul, future 
rewards and punishments, &c, &c. This is no mean 
proof that the Bible is from God, and that what is 
called the light of nature is a ray from the infinite splen- 


dour of the eternal Sun of wisdom and righteousness. 
And thus both reason and revelation illustrate each 
other, and conjoin to point out that infinite Source of 
being and beneficence who is alone the Supreme Good 
of man. 

To show that, without having any kind of reference to 
it, the Scripture proclaims those essential and important 
things found out by the arguments a priori, take the 
following examples : — 

1. The Scriptures assert that there is only one God, 
Deut. iv. 39, vi. 4; 2 Sam. vii. 22; Ps. lxxxvi. 10; Jer. 
x. 10, 11, xlv. 5 ; Matt. xix. 17; John xvii. 3; 1 Cor. 
viii. 4 — 6; 1 Tim. ii. 5, vi. 15. 

2. That this God is a Being of all possible perfections, 
Matt. v. 48; 1 Chron. xxix. 11 ; Ps. viii. 1. 

3. That this God is the Creator of all things, Gen. i. 
1 ; Ps. xxxiii. 6; Acts xiv. 17; Heb. xi. 3. 

4. That he is omniscient, i. e., perfectly wise, and 
knows all things, Job ix. 4; 1 Tim. i. 17; Isai. xl. 13, 
14 ; 1 Sam. ii. 3 ; Job xxxvi. 4, xlii. 2 ; Ps. cxlvii. 5 ; 
Jer. xxxii. 19 ; Acts xv. 18. 

5. That he is an eternal Spirit, John iv. 24 ; Heb. xi. 
27 ; 1 Tim. vi. 16; Deut. xxxiii. 27; Ps. xc. 2. 

6. That he is omnipresent, 1 Kings viii. 27 ; Ps. 
cxxxix. 7 — 10 ; Jer. xxiii. 24. 

7. That he is omnipotent, Jer. xxxii. 17 ; Rev. xix. 
6 ; Ps. cxlv. 3 ; Job ix. 4, &c. ; 1 Chron. xxix. 11, 12. 

8. That he is immutable, Exod. iii. 14 ; Mai. iii. 6 ; 
Heb. i. 10 — 12; James i. 17- 

9. That he is incomprehensible, Job xi. 7; Ps. 
cxxxix. 6; Eccles. iii. 11, viii. 17; 1 Tim. vii. 16; 
Rom. xi. 33. 

10. That he is essentially good, Ps. Hi. 1, cxlv. 9; 
Matt. xix. 17; James i. 17; Exod. xxxiv. 6; 1 John 
iv. 8. 


11. Tihat he is true and faithful to all his engage- 
ments, Numb, xxiii. 19 ; Deut. vii. 9 ; 2 Sam. vi. 28 ; 
Tit. i. 2. 

12. That he is infinitely pure and holy, Isai. vi. 3, 
xliii. 15, lvii. 15 ; Ps, cxlv. 17; Rev. xv. 4. 

13. That he is infinitely just, Ps. xxxvi. 6, cxxix. 4, 
cxix. 137 ; Rom. ii. 6 ; Acts x. 34, 35 ; Rev. xv. 3. 

14. That his providence is not only general but par- 
ticular, governing and preserving all things, Ps. xxxvi. 
6, civ., cvii., cxxxvi. 25, cxlv. 13, &c. ; Job xii. 10 ; 
Acts xiv. 17, xvii. 28 ; Matt. x. 29, 30. 

15. That he loves man especially, and presses all the 
operations of all inanimate and animate beings into his 
service, Prov. xvi. 33 ; Ps. lxv. 9, &c, civ. 13 — 30, cxlv. 
15, 16, 33, cxlvii. 16, 18; Amos iii. 6, iv. 7; Job xxxvii., 
xxxviii., xxxix. For all creatures, whether corporeal or 
incorporeal, animal or spiritual, not only owe their being 
to God, but they owe also their efficacy to produce any 
effect to the agency of a divine power in and upon 
them, as all creatures, every moment, depend upon God 
for the continuance of their existence. 

See Doddridge and other writers on this argument. 

Some Observations on the Divine Providence. 

The providence of God, in renewing the wastes of 
nature, and in fructifying barren tracts, so as to make the 
wilderness a fruitful field, and even the sterile rocks a 
vegetable surface, is a subject of astonishing beauty and 
contrivance ; and as such is worthy of the contemplation 
of angels and men ; and is a sovereign proof of the being 
and love of the Great First Cause and Preserver of all 
things. In order to set this in a clear and impressive 
light, I borrow, gladly and gratefully, the following ob- 
servations from a late periodical work. 

"Nothing can be more beautiful in itself, or more 


deeply interesting to a reflecting mind, than the proofs 
by which nature constantly produces an accession of soil, 
and an accumulation of vegetable matter to render it 
fertile. The process is varied so as to be exactly adapted 
to overcome the obstacles which the circumstances of 
each particular district present ; but although the means 
employed are infinitely various, the final result is always 
the same. "When the surface of a rock, for instance, 
becomes first exposed to the atmosphere, it is at once 
attacked by agents which operate on it, both mechanically 
and chemically. Light calls into activity the latent 
heat ; the pores become by that means sufficiently en- 
larged to admit particles of moisture, which gradually 
abrade the surface, and produce inequalities ; upon these 
inequalities the seeds of lichens and mosses are deposited 
by the atmosphere. These forerunners of vegetation take 
root, and the fibres by which some sorts of these diminu- 
tive plants adhere to the rock, concoct a vegetable acid, 
peculiarly adapted to corrode the substance with which 
it comes in contact, and increases the inequalities which 
heat and moisture had already formed. These diminutive 
plants decay and perish : when decomposed, they form a 
vegetable bed suited to the production of larger plants ; 
or when the surface of the rock happens to present 
clefts or natural crevices, they fall into them ; and there 
mingling with fine particles of sand conveyed thither by 
the atmosphere, or crumbled by the action of the air 
from the internal surfaces of the crevices themselves, they 
form fertile mould. Nature, having advanced thus far in 
her preparations, makes another forward step. She sows 
the soil which has been produced by the decomposition 
of vegetable matter, with some of the more perfect plants 
which it has now become capable of sustaining. These 
continue to be produced and decomposed, until a soil has 
been prepared of sufficient depth and richness to bear 


plants of still higher quality and larger dimensions. The 
process of nature requires accelerated force as it advances 
towards its consummation. When a sufficient depth of 
soil has been formed, to produce ferns for instance, these 
annually decay and die ; their decomposed materials 
gradually form little conical heaps of vegetable mould 
round the spot on which each plant grew. When this 
has gone on for a period of sufficient length to spread 
these cones over a given surface, nature takes another 
stride ; she sows furze, thorns, and briars, which thrive 
luxuriantly, and by annually shedding their leaves, con- 
tribute in the end to add greatly to both the depth and 
fertility of the mould. This species constitutes, in truth, 
the means which nature principally uses in preparing a 
bed for the growth of the more valuable trees. It is 
well known that these are the plants which make their 
first appearance in fallows, or in woods which have been 
recently cut down. Into the centre of a tuft of brambles 
is accidentally carried the seed of the majestic oak ; 
meeting with a congenial soil, it soon vegetates; it is 
carefully and effectually cherished and protected by its 
prickly defence, against all injuries from the bite of the 
animals which roam over the waste. The larger trees 
having reached a height and size which render shelter 
unnecessary, destroy their early nurses and protectors, 
by robbing them of the light and the air indispensable 
for their well being. The thorny plants then retire to 
the outskirts of the forests, where, in the enjoyment of 
an abundant supply of light and sun, they continue 
gradually to extend the empire of their superiors, and 
make encroachments upon the plain until the whole 
district becomes at length covered with magnificent trees. 
The roots of the larger trees penetrate the soil in all 
directions ; they even find their way into the crevices of 
the rocks, fitted as these are already by decomposed 


vegetable matter ; here they swell and contract as the 
heat and moisture increase or diminish. They act like 
true levers, until they gradually pulverize the earthy 
materials which they have been able to penetrate. While 
the roots are thus busy underground, boring, undermining, 
cleaving, and crumbling everything that impedes their 
progress, the branches and leaves are equally indefati- 
gable overhead. They arrest the volatile particles of 
vegetable food which float in the atmosphere. Thus fed 
and sustained, each tree, not only increases annually in 
size, but produces and deposits a crop of fruit and leaves. 
The fruit becomes the food of animals, or is carried into 
a spot where it can produce a new plant ; the leaves fall 
around the tree, where they become gradually decom- 
posed, and in the lapse of ages make a vast addition to 
the depth of the vegetable mould ; whilst the decompo- 
sition of vegetables makes a gradual addition to the 
depth of the cultivatable soil, another cause, equally con- 
stant in operation, contributes to increase its fertility — 
the produce of the minutest plants serves to subsist 
myriads of insects ; after a brief existence, these perish 
and decay ; their decomposed particles greatly fertilize 
the vegetable matter with which they happen to mingle. 
The period at last arrives when the timber, having 
reached its highest measure of growth and perfection, 
may be cut down, in order that the husbandman may 
enter upon the inheritance prepared for him by the hand 
of the all-wise and all-beneficent Author of his exist- 
ence. Such is the system which they who have eyes to 
see, may see. Plants which appear worthless in them- 
selves — those lichens, mosses, heaths, ferns, furze, briars, 
and brooms, in which economists, forsooth, perceive 
only the symbols of eternal barrenness — are so many in- 
struments employed by perfect wisdom in fertilizing new 


district^ for the occupation of future generations of man- 
kind : — 

' The course of nature is the art of God.' 

"The constant depasturing of cattle on wastes and 
commons counteracts the means which Providence makes 
use of in producing fertility ; and, in consequence, greatly 
retards the period when the soil becomes sufficiently 
deep for agricultural purposes. There is not, perhaps, a 
healthy waste which would not become a forest, were 
the commoners restrained from setting their flocks upon 

" It is a well-known fact, that wherever trees of any 
particular species have fallen into decay, other trees of 
the same species will not naturally thrive : for instance, 
when a forest of firs falls naturally into decay, it is never 
found to be succeeded by another crop of firs, but by 
birch, oaks, or other species congenial to the soil which 
the fir-wood had formed. Therefore oaks should not be 
planted to supply the place of oaks already cut down 
from that place ; no more than wheat should be sowed 
in the same field where wheat grew in the preceding 
year. Plantations should be encouraged on all waste 
and common lands. In such, we behold the most effi- 
cient means which could have been adopted towards 
covering these barren tracts with a depth of soil adequate 
for the purpose of husbandry. Many of the trees ordi- 
narily planted^ and more especially the larch, are known 
to destroy the heath, and to afford a shelter highly fa- 
vourable to the growth of nutritious grasses." — See No. 
of the Quarterly Review, p. 438. 

There is no land, howsoever sterile, which, by judi- 
cious draining or planting, may not become of the ut- 
most benefit to man. Nature is God's agent; but he 


has given man understanding to be a co-worker with 
this agent, and to direct and help her operations. Art 
may not only embellish nature, but, by the assistance of 
industry, render her still more abundantly fruitful. 

If God has said, " In the sweat of thy brow thou 
shalt eat bread," he has, even in this, strongly intimated 
that the man who industriously plies his tillage, though 
to lassitude and sweat, shall have bread to eat. 

Thus, then, the sun, moon, planets, rain, dew, snow, 
trees, herbs, shrubs, funguses, and vegetable excrescences 
of every kind ; all the smaller animals, and most despi- 
cable insects; grass, corn, oil, water, fire; the brutes 
and the angels, which were all made by and depend 
upon him, are the servants of man. And thus reason 
and revelation conjoin to prove that there is a God ; that 
he is good ; that he hateth nothing that he hath made ; 
that he is loving to every man; that he would have 
none perish, or be wretched; and that he is "the re- 
warder of them that diligently seek him." See Dod- 
dridge, Clarke, &c. 



2 Peter i. 3, 4. 

3. 'Qg Travra rjfiiv ri\g Quag dvvafjieujg avrov ret Trpog Z,tni]v 
Kai fvotfieiav dedcjprjfitvrjg. diet rr\g nriyvusuag row koXeoclvtoc 
ijfiag dia do%r]g Kai aptrrjg, 

4. Ai wv to. ntyiara ijfiiv Kai Tifiia STrayytXfiara dfdojptjTai, 
Iva 8ia tovtiov ytvrjaOt Quag koivojvoi (pvauog, aTrocpvyovreg rr\g 
ev KofffH]) tv ETTiOvfiia (pOopag. 

3. " According as his divine power hath given unto us all things 
that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him 
that hath called us to glory and virtue (or KaXtaavrog ijfiag iSia 
So%y Kai apiry by his own glory and power) : 

4. " Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious 
promises : that by these ye might be partakers of the divine 
nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through 

In order to enter into the full meaning and force of 
the apostle's words, it is necessary to consider, — 

I. The people to whom the apostle wrote, both as to 
their external and internal state. 

II. The moral state of society, and of the world, in 
the time in which these lived. It was corrupt, inter- 
nally and externally, — totally fallen from God and right- 


III. The source whence this corruption proceeded : — 
lust, tiriQvpia, evil desire; intensely strong and irre- 

IV The prospect there was of being saved from this 
corruption; the exceeding great and precious promises 
of God that they should escape from it. 

Y The end **to which they were called, God's own 
glory and virtue ; or, by his glory and virtue as the 
•means \ to his glory and virtue as the end ; and for which 
they should be prepared by a participation of the divine 

I. Of the people to whom the apostle wrote, both as 
to their external and internal state. 

1. The people to whom these words are addressed 
were evidently composed of Gentile converts, and Jews 
who had received the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ ; 
and apparently under persecution by the unbelieving 
Jews ; for if they were, as is generally supposed, the same 
with those to whom the First Epistle is addressed, thev 
"were strangers scattered abroad" throughout various 
provinces of Asia Minor; viz., Pontus, Galatia, Cappa- 
docia, Asia (that of which Ephesus was the capital), and 
Bithynia. Now, though the word strangers, irapeiridripoi, 
may refer to all truly religious people, as it seems to be 
in Gen. xlvii. 9, Ps. xxxix. 12 (see Septuagint), and 
Heb. xi. 13, yet the inscription appears to have a special 
reference to those who were driven by persecution to 
seek refuge in those heathen provinces, to which the 
influence of their persecuting brethren did not extend. 
And it is most probable that they were not natives of 
those countries, for they are here called irapnn^noiQ Sia- 
vrropag, "strangers of the dispersion, in Pontus," &c. 
And this title the Jews gave to their countrymen who 
were dispersed through different provinces of the Greek 



empire, founded by Alexander the Great, in Greece, 
Syria, "Egypt, and Asia Minor, where the Greek language 
prevailed, and where the Jewish Scriptures, in the Greek 
version of the Septuagint, were read. Hence, when our 
Lord, who was persecuted by the Jews, said (John vii. 
34), "Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me; and 
where I am ye cannot come," they answered, " Whither 
will he go, that we shall not find him ? Will he go 
unto the dispersed among the Gentiles (ag ti\v 8ta.<riropav 
ra>v 'EWrivuv), and teach them?" ver. 35. And that this 
word was applied to those who, being persecuted on ac- 
count of their receiving the faith of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, were driven from their native country, appears 
from Acts xi. 19: "Now they which were scattered 
abroad, 6i diaa7rap£VT£g f upon the persecution that arose 
about Stephen, travelled as far as Phenice, Cyprus, and 
Antioch, preaching the word to the Jews only;" and 
" some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene." See 
Acts viii. 1, where this dispersion of the church at Jeru 
salem is mentioned. 

I conclude, therefore, that the " strangers of the dis- 
persion," mentioned above, were such as I have already 
described, some of them converted Jews, others con- 
verted Gentiles, all suffering for righteousness' sake, and 
all fleeing from the face of persecution into strange 
lands, according to the directions of our Lord : " When 
they persecute you in one city, flee unto another," &c. 
Matt. x. 23. Which direction was illustrated in his 
own history, and by his own conduct. When Herod 
sought to kill the young child of whom the wise men 
spake, " the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a 
dream, saying, Arise and take the young child and his 
mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I 
bring thee word : and he arose and departed into 
Egypt," Matt. iv. 13 — 15. " Now when Jesus had heard 


that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee," 
Matt. iv. 12. "Then the Pharisees went out and held 
a council against him, how they might destroy him. 
But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from 
thence," Matt. xii. 14, 15. This people, therefore, as to 
their external circumstances, appear to have heen in a 
state of suffering and exile, occasioned, most probahly, 
by the persecution raised up against Christianity by the 
unbelieving Jews. 

2. As to their internal state, we shall see it at once 
in the apostle's address : they were a people who were 
" chosen of God, through the sanctification of the Spirit ; 
obedient to the truth of the gospel ; and had received 
the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus ; had a living hope 
of eternal glory ; and were kept by the power of God 
through faith," 1 Pet. i. 1 — 5. They were indeed per- 
secuted, and variously afflicted, but they bore those evils 
not only with patience and fortitude, but with joy and 
thanksgiving, through the strength of that love which 
they received from and bore to the God of their lives 
and their mercies, ver. 8. They, as Gentiles, had re- 
ceived like precious faith with the Jews ; did not live 
under any inferior dispensation of the Divine Spirit; 
found themselves invested with the same religious privi- 
leges as those possessed by the most faithful of the chil- 
dren of Abraham ; and the believing Jews now found 
their former moon-like privileges changed into those 
which might be compared to the sun going forth in the 
brightness of his rising, and the might of his strength. 
They had received like precious faith with the apostles 
and their converts, the first-born of the Lord, 2 Pet. 
i. 1 , &c. And it was no small privilege to the Gentiles 
to find that they were made fellow-heirs with the Jews 
of the grace of life ; and had the gifts and graces of the 



Divine Spirit poured out upon them, as they had been 
on the Jews at the beginning. 

3. Though persecuted and driven to strange countries, 
the eye of God's providence was over them, to discover 
their wants and provide for their necessities ; and the 
hand of his mercy was open to dispense all those spiri- 
tual blessings of which they stood in need ; and so his 
divine power gave them all things that pertained to life 
and godliness. They were troubled on every side, yet 
not distressed ; they were perplexed, but not abandoned 
to despair ; they were persecuted, but not forsaken ; cast 
down, but not destroyed, 2 Cor. iv. 8, 9. They found 
the truth of that word, " All things shall work together 
for good to them that love God." Their enemies put 
forth their wrath, but that wrath was so counterworked 
by the providence and grace of God, that it praised 
God ; and the " remainder of it he restrained." How 
vain were the attempts of men and devils to destroy the 
light of the gospel by persecution and death ! In spite 
of these it grew ; and under them it flourished ! The 
gates of hell, though opened wide to pour out all its 
hosts, could not prevail against it ; and persecution, like 
a good broad-cast sowing, dispersed the seed of eternal 
life throughout the world. The persecuted went every 
where preaching the word of the truth of the gospel ; 
and had not the primitive Christians been burnt out by 
persecution at Jerusalem, humanly speaking, it would 
have been a long time before Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, 
and Italy could have heard the words of eternal life. 
Satan and his children persecuted and drove them from 
city to city. One company ran and sowed the good seed 
of the kingdom ; another, driven by the same agency, 
followed after them, and watered the seed; and God 
continued to reap a plentiful harvest. Never was the 

A DISCOURSE 01* II. PETER I. 3, 4. 359 

wise and experienced devil farther out in his calculations, 
than when he counted on the destruction of Christianity 
by fire and sword. Under him, the Jews distinguished 
themselves in the first instance, and instead of casting 
down Christianity, they stumbled and fell, and rose no 
more ! Heathen Rome followed in the same track ; the 
sword, the fire, the axe, the gibbet, with the fangs and 
teeth of ferocious beasts, were tried in vain ; and at last, 
by the power of Christianity, she and her idols, and her 
instruments of cruelty, were defeated and cast down, 
even down to the ground. Papal Rome, having aposta- 
tized from the spirit and power of the gospel, copied her 
ancient mother, and most grievously persecuted all who 
held the truth of God, against corrupt doctrines and the 
uncertain traditions of men ; but she prevailed not ; the 
secular and spiritual power were conjoined to annihilate 
those who testified against its corruptions and its crimes ; 
and now, that truth, which entered a solemn protest 
against those corruptions, is rapidly spreading over the 
earth ; and by it more than half the world has received 
that heavenly light concentrated in the Bible, which 
that church had first obscured by false interpretations, 
and at last violently snatched out of the hands of the 
people. But God has reclaimed his own word, and deli- 
vered it over to mankind ; and they who would not walk 
in the light, but persecuted to death those who did, are 
now consigned to their native weakness, darkness, frip- 
pery, and folly ; and her secular power is cast down for 
ever : and after ruling the earth with her iron sceptre, 
she has vanished, as a power, from the nations of the 
earth ! Where now is her terror ? Where now is her 
fear, and where her respect? The mighty angel has 
taken up the stone, like a great mill-stone, and cast it 
into the sea, saying, " Thus with violence shall that great 
city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no 


more &t all ! Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye 
holy apostles and prophets, for God hath avenged you 
on her ; for in her was found the blood of prophets and 
of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth," 
Rev. xviii. 20 — 24. While we say, " Alas, alas ! for 
this great city !" let us pray that, while her antichristian 
power is crushed and dissolved, a Christian Rome may 
arise, clothed with the sun, having the moon under her 
feet ; and thus, illustrated with sound doctrine, unspotted 
holiness, and useful learning, be once more respectable 
among the nations, and a blessing to the earth ! Amen, 

II. Let us consider the moral state of society, and of 
the world, in the time in which those pious persecuted 
people lived. 

It was corrupt, internally and externally; it was 
totally fallen from God, and from original righteousness. 
This state the apostle points out in these words, " The 
corruption that is in the world ;" rm *v icoer/xy — <p0opag. 
The word originally means to reduce to disorder, to de- 
compose the component parts of a thing by putrefaction, 
such as takes place in the human body by death. It is 
sown (says the apostle) in corruption, <nrtipsTai tv tyQopq,, 
it dies, is deposited in the earth, rots or putrefies; is 
quite decomposed in all its parts ; becomes nauseous and 
horrible, totally loses its form ; in a word, is destroyed, 
i. e., is pulled down, and the once fair and comely man- 
sion is seen no more ! The word, taken metaphorically, 
signifies moral corruption and destruction, and is applied 
to those who act profligately, so that all evidence of ori- 
ginal righteousness appears to be destroyed in them, to- 
gether with every semblance of faith and virtue. In a 
word, it points out the carnal mind that is enmity against 
God ; the old man that is corrupt, with its affections and 


desires, and all the moral evil consequences of the fall 
of man. This was the state not only of the Gentiles, 
but of the Jews ; for all flesh (the whole of the human 
race) had corrupted its way ; none did righteousness, no, 
not one ! Well might a Christian in such times, and 
among such people, be considered a new creature — a 
human being of a different species to any ever seen in 
Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, or Bithynia. All the 
rest were corrupted and corrupters ; purposing, working, 
and living in the corruption that is in the world — that 
prevailed not only universally among them, but in the 
whole habitable globe besides. And these dreadful pro- 
pensities reigned in the heathen world without check or 
control — nothing could resist their overwhelming in- 
fluence ; and there was no cure in the wisdom of man 
for this universal contagion, for the world by wisdom 
knew not God. The whole world lay in the wicked one, 
and none but the all-conquering Lord could drag this 
lost world out of the arms of Apollyon, cancel the sin, 
and cleanse the corrupt heart. 

1. All were internally corrupt : the whole system of 
passions, appetites, faculties, and mental powers was in 
a state of uncleanness, disorder, and confusion. All 
the imaginations of the thoughts of the hearts of men 
were evil, only evil, and that continually, Gen. vi' 5, 
&c. And no wonder, for the image of God was erased 
from the soul; the Satanic image took its place, and 
thus the heart became deceitful and desperately wicked, 
indescribably and inconceivably so : for God alone can 
fully know the depth of the wickedness of the human 

2. All were externally corrupt ; for in consequence of 
the fallen state of man, and the internal wickedness of 
his heart, the earth was filled with violence. The evil 
principle showed itself by evil practices; and as the 


carnal mind is enmity against God, sb is it enmity against 
man ; every man carries in himself naturally a foeman's 
heart ; and hence disputes, contentions, strifes, variance, 
emulations, hatred, malice, battery, private murders, and 
public wars ! "With these were associated what may be 
called domestic evils, adulteries, fornications, lascivious- 
ness, uncleanness, with drunkenness, revellings, and such 
like: all these proceeding directly from the corruption 
of the human heart. This corruption was in the world, 
and is still in the world ; but it is now, in some respects, 
curbed by the gospel ; and yet, in every case where the 
bit of legal restraint is taken out of their mouth, or the 
reins of public authority and discipline are slackened, the 
evil becomes manifest ; and thus every unregenerate man 
shows himself to be a child of corruption, a fallen spirit 
intent on the gratification of the flesh, and capable of 
all mischief. And yet, with all this proneness to sin and 
fellness of disposition, wretched man will affect to be a 
religious creature ! He will have a God ! this God shall 
have his worship, and his peculiar rites ! But where 
shall this God be found ! The poor human fool makes 
one with his own hands, gives it attributes according to 
his own heart ; and offers it a worship in which all the 
carnalities of his own apostate nature are gratified ! Thus 
his system of idolatry is at once the evidence, the proof, 
the fosterer, and support of his corrupt nature. And 
hence in no system of idolatry, or worship invented by 
man, could there ever be found a moral cure for sin ; as 
all the figments of false worship sprung from the cor- 
rupt principle in the mind ; and it cannot be supposed 
that the stream should rise higher than the fountain ; 
or that an effect could destroy its cause : hence arises the 
nullity of all false religion as to its beneficial moral 
effects upon either individuals or society. Where such 
religions find man, there they leave him ; but as they 


proceed from the corrupt spirit, and are framed for the 
gratification of the corrupt appetite, they foster the 
seeds of vice ; and thus the devotee becomes more ani- 
mal, more sensual, more devilish, proceeding from worse 
to worse, till the heart becomes totally hardened through 
the deceitfulness of sin ; till the human being disappears, 
and the beast and the devil, in a fearful combination, 
occupy the place of man ! 

As there is no effect without its cause, and this moral 
corruption is evidently an effect, we should now con- 

III. The source or fountain whence this corruption 

The, apostle has npt left us to seek this from conjec- 
ture ; he mentions the thing itself: " The corruption 
that is in the world through lust," ev eiriOvntq. When 
we can ascertain what the precise meaning of this term 
is, we shall then know whence this corruption has 
flowed, and how it is maintained in the world. 

The term lust, used by our translators here, is defined 
by our best lexicographers, "desire, inclination, will, 
carnal desire, any violent or irregular passion." It comes 
to us from the Teutonic, through the Anglo-Saxon, \uyt, 
from lurtan, to desire, to delight, or be delighted ; but 
neither in the Anglo-Saxon, German, or Dutch, in all of 
which it exists in the same meaning, does it signify car- 
nal or libidinous desire, which we generally mean by 
lust, unless joined by some other word to qualify it to 
this sense, or fix it to such a meaning : as boj-e luj% base, 
low, bad, or impure desire. And St. Paul seems to 
qualify the word eTnBv/iia in the same way, to give it that 
meaning which the simple word generally bears among 
us ; e. g., 1 Thess. iv. 5. " Not in the lust of concu- 
piscence," fir) iv 7ra0u tinOvfiiag, not in passionate desire, 

q 3 


as it is most correctly translated by the Eev. J. Wesley, 
who gives the word eirtOvfiia the same meaning, desire, 
which the word lupt, lust, had in our ancient mother- 
tongue, and which -our translators have given it in seve- 
ral parts of the Bible, of which the following are proofs. 
In Numb. xi. 4, it is said that " the people fell a lusting 
and said, "Who will give us flesh to eat ?" Now this lust- 
ing, or as the margin has it, lusted a lust (mxn iiNi-in 
hithavu taaveh, " earnestly desired a desire,") was simply 
an intense desire for flesh meat, instead of that aerial 
substance called manna, of which they were now weary ; 
and to meet this desire, which in itself was not criminal, 
the Lord worked a surprising miracle ! By the same 
word is often expressed a desire which is perfectly inno- 
cent, and the object of it perfectly lawful ; see Deut. xii. 
15 : " Thou mayest kill and eat flesh in all thy gates, 
whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, according to the bless- 
ing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee;" 
see also verses 20, 21. We see therefore that the word 
lust is used to express, not only an innocent desire, but a 
desire that has for its object a lawful thing ; and the law- 
fulness of the thing, and the innocence of the desire, 
are proved by the permission of God to use that abun- 
dantly which his good providence had provided for them. 
It was thus commonly used among our ancient writers. 
So in Spenser's Shepherd's Calendar for July, in the 
Eclogue of Thomalin and Morrel, " made," as the argu- 
ment says, " in the honour and commendation of good 
shepherds ; and to the shame and dispraise of proud and 
ambitious pastors." — Morrel speaks : 

" What ho, thou jolly shepherd's swain. 

Come up the hill to me ; 
Better is, than the lowly plain, 

Ms for thy sheep and thee." 


Among other things Thomalin answers, — 

*' But if thee lust to holden chat 

With seely shepherd's swain, 
Come down, and hear the little what, 

That Thomalin can sain." 

That is, — 

Let the popish priests descend from their assumed un- 
interrupted succession, and self-originated authority, and 
if they wish to hear what protestant pastors have to say 
in behalf of the purity of their doctrine, and their divine 
call, let them lay aside their secular sword, and fire and 
fagot, and taking the even ground of the Scripture, de- 
fend themselves with the sword of the Spirit, if they can 
draw and wield it. 

Some learned men have had recourse to the Greek for 
the meaning of the word lust, and as Xuuttoq and Xwtrroc, 
signify the chiefest and best, so no man in making a choice 
will wish to possess himself of that which is least or 
worst, but of that which is the best. So lust signifies 
the earnest desire to possess that which is chief or best 
of the things proposed to one's election. 

From the nature of the term, and the way in which 
it has been employed by the people into the composition 
of whose language it enters, we may see satisfactorily 
that it originally expressed simple desire, and, in process 
of time, strong or intense desire ; and at last, among our- 
selves, was and is used to express such a desire or wish 
as springs from impure and carnal affections ; but this 
exclusive sense is not that in which St. Peter uses the 
word. His word tTriOvpia, compounded of em, upon, or 
taken intensively, and Ov/xog, mind, thought, or desire ; 
strong excitement of mind, as in anger, &c. ; it must 
imply strong desire, desire upon desire ; an earnestness 
of wishing, in order to enjoyment. 


I have dwelt the longer on this word, because of the 
use which I think my text authorizes me to make of it. 
And to come more directly to its meaning in St. Peter., 
we should compare it with what St. John says, who uses 
not only the same words, but evidently in the same sense. 
He exhorts the Christians of his time thus : 1 Epist. ii. 
15, 16: "Love not the world, nor the things in the 
world ; for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, 
the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the 
Father, but of the world ; and the world passeth away, 
and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God 
abideth for ever." From these and other considerations 
we shall see, that from simple desire, irregularly exer- 
cised, all the other evils have flowed. And as the term 
desire, which is an act of the mind, should be well un- 
derstood, I will take its definition from Mr. Locke. 
" Desire is the uneasiness a man finds in himself, upon 
the absence of anything whose present enjoyment carries 
the idea of delight with it : " and " desire is greater or 
less, according as the uneasiness is more or less ardent :" 
and I may add that uneasiness is more or less ardent in 
proportion to the conviction a man has of the necessity, 
importance, and benefit to be derived from the thing 
which is the object of his desire. Let us keep this de- 
finition in view, and we shall be soon convinced, from a 
careful examination of this operation of the human heart, 
that originally from it arose all the evil that is in man ; 
and we may discern how that evil first entered into the 

The account given by Moses of the creation, tempta- 
tion, and fall of man, is the only information we have on 
those momentous subjects. He tells us that God created 
man in his own image and likeness. And St. Paul tells 
us, that that image consisted in righteousness, truth, and 
holiness ; therefore there could be no evil in the mind or 


disposition of man ; no enmity to God ; no feeling, as 
there was no knowledge, of sin : it had not yet existed, 
but only in fallen angels. By whom it entered into the 
world, the same record teaches ; the devil, the prince of 
fallen spirits, taking for his instrument a creature called 
nachash, which we translate serpent, that seems to have 
had the gift both of speech and reason, having learned 
that God, as a test of obedience, had forbidden the first 
human pair to eat the fruit of a particular tree that grew 
in the midst of the garden of paradise, used that very 
prohibition as the means of deceiving the woman, and 
of leading her to transgress. God' had said, "In the day 
thou eatest of it, thou shalt surely die." Satan ques- 
tions this : — ." Indeed ! hath God said, If thou eat of it, 
thou shalt surely die ?" The Woman repeats the prohi- 
bition. Satan answers, " Thou shalt not surely die :" 
as if he had said, " Thou art immortal, God created thee 
such ; thy death is impossible — thy Creator wishes to de- 
prive thee of a great and important good ; as he knows 
that as soon as ye eat of this fruit, ye shall get such a 
wonderful increase of knowledge, that ye shall be like 
unto himself, knowing good and evil." Hence it appears 
that the object of the tempter was to persuade our first 
parents that they should, by eating of this fruit, become 
wise and powerful like God (for knowledge is power), 
and be able to exist for ever, independently of him ; and 
as they had lived by the tree of life, so they imagined 
they would get wisdom by the tree of knowledge. 

Let us see now how simple desire, by means of appe- 
tite, operated to lead into transgression. " When the 
woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it 
was pleasant to the eye ; and that it was a tree to be de- 
sired to make one wise : she took of the fruit thereof 
and did eat, and gave also to her husband who was with 
her, and he did eat." First, the fruit appeared to her to 


be wholesome and nutritive : " she saw that it was good 
for food.'* Secondly, it was beautiful to look on, and 
the fairness of the fruit tended to excite and increase 
appetite. Thirdly, " it was to be desired to make one 
wise," which was an additional motive to please the 
palate. We may presume, and the facts of the case prove 
it, that she felt at first simple desire, and by keeping her 
eyes upon the object, would soon find in herself " that 
uneasiness on the absence or non-possession of a thing, 
the present enjoyment of which carried with it the idea 
of delight." Therefore, she took it, and did eat. From 
those three sources, all natural and moral evil sprang : 
and they are exactly what the apostle John calls, 1. 
" The desire of the flesh :" — they were good for food. 2. 
" The desire of the eyes :" — it was pleasant to the sight. 
3. Hence arose the pride of life : for it was a " tree to 
be desired to make one wise ; " and the affectation of 
wisdom is that in which man boasts^ beyond all other 
possessions. Under the influence of this desire, working 
in this threefold way, the prohibition of their Maker 
seems to have been forgotten. The transgression had a 
fatal effect upon their minds ; the harmony of the soul 
was lost; animal desires, for more such gratifications, 
began to work tumultuously ; all prohibition seemed 
only a check upon reasonable desires and enjoyment; 
and under such feeling, they pressed forward from sim- 
ple enjoyment to sensual gratification ; and from gratifi- 
cation to excess. Hence reason was overwhelmed by 
animal feelings ; desire was built on desire ; indulgence 
produced still more extensive demand, and they soon 
withheld their heart from no joy. Order was no longer 
felt — disorder prevailed. The understanding was dark- 
ened, and they did not like to retain God in their know- 
ledge. The spirit of holiness, of order, harmony, and 
pure love, abandoned a habitation in which it could no 


longer reside ; and with it righteousness, truth, and holi- 
ness took their flight. The image of God was defaced, 
and the whole man became a mass of moral corruption. 
Hence, corruption entered into the world through lust ; 
lust conceived and brought forth sin ; sin was finished, 
and brought forth death. Thus, from simple desire, irre- 
gularly exercised, sprang the loss of Eden, loss of holi- 
ness, loss of God, and loss of happiness. By the envy 
of the devil sin entered into the world, and death by 
sin ; and with them, the innumerable evils, both ghostly 
and bodily, that have turned the paradise of God into a 
howling wilderness, driven peace from the earth, filled 
the body with the seeds of disease and death, and the 
soul with the seeds of corruption and perdition. The 
families of man are living in a state of constant hostility 
to their fellows, so that one half of the inhabitants of 
the earth are destroyed by the other. The natural evil 
that is unavoidable is increased endlessly by the moral 
evil that works upon and through it ; insomuch that 
God can no longer take pleasure in the work of his own 
hands ! God had undoubtedly created our first parents 
not only very wise and intelligent, but also with a great 
capacity and suitable propensity to increase in knowledge. 
Those who maintain that Adam was created so perfect 
as to preclude the possibility of his increase in know- 
ledge, have taken a very false view of the subject. We 
shall surely be convinced that our first parents were in a 
state of sufficient perfection, when we consider, 

1. That they were endowed with a vast capacity to 
obtain knowledge. 

2. That all the means of information were within 
their reach. 

3. That there was no hinderance to the most direct 
conception of occurring truth. 


4. That all objects of knowledge, whether natural or 
moral, were ever at hand. 

5. That they had the strongest propensity to know, — 
the hunger and thirst after wisdom. 

6. And the greatest pleasure in acquiring knowledge. 
To have God and nature continually open to the view 

of the soul ; and to have a soul capable of viewing both, 
and fathoming, endlessly, their unbounded glories and 
excellencies, what a consummation of bliss ! This was 
undoubtedly the state and condition of our first parents ; 
even the present ruins of this state, like the chehal 
minar, or forty remaining pillars of Persepolis, are in- 
controvertible evidences of the glory and splendour of 
the original building. 

We see at once how transgression came : It was na- 
tural for them to desire to be increasingly wise : God 
had planted this desire in their hearts; but he had 
showed them that this desire should be gratified in a 
certain way, and that prudence and judgment should 
ever regulate it; that they should carefully examine 
what God had opened to their view ; and should not pry 
into what he chooses to conceal. He alone who knows 
all things, knows how much knowledge the soul needs 
in order to its complete perfection and increasing hap- 
piness ; in what subjects this may be legitimately sought ; 
and where the mind may make excursions and discove- 
ries to its prejudice and ruin. There are doubtless many 
subjects which angels are capable of knowing, and which 
God chooses to conceal even from them, because that 
knowledge would tend neither to their perfection nor 
happiness. Of every attainment and object of pursuit, 
it may be said, in the words of an ancient poet, who con- 
ceived correctly on the subject, and expressed his thoughts 
with perspicuity and energy : 


Est modus in rebus : sunt certi denique fines, 
Quos ultra citroque nequit consistere rectum. 

Horat. Sat., lib. i., sat. i., ver. 106. 

*' There is a rule for all things : there are, in fine, fixed and stated 

On either side of which righteousness cannot be found !" 

Such limits God certainly assigned from the begin- 
ning. " Thou mayest come up to this ; but thou shalt 
not pass it." And, as he assigned the limits, so he as- 
signed the means : It is lawful for thee to acquire know- 
ledge in this way ; it is unlawful for thee to seek it in 
that. And had he not a right to do so ? And would 
his creation have been perfect without it ? 

Let us review the whole of this melancholy business : 

1. From the New Testament we learn that Satan as- 
sociated himself with the creature which we term the 
serpent, and the original, the nachash, in order to seduce 
and ruin mankind, 2 Cor. xi. 3. Rev. xii. 9, xx. 2. 

2. That this creature was the most suitable to his pur- 
pose, as being the most subtle, the most intelligent and 
canning of all the beasts of the field, endued with the 
gift of speech and reason ; and, consequently, one in 
which the tempter could best conceal himself. 

3. As he knew that while Adam and Eve depended 
on God they could not be ruined, he therefore endea- 
voured to seduce them from this dependance. 

4. He did this by working on that propensity of the 
mind to desire an increase of knowledge, with which 
God, for the most gracious purpose, had endued it. 

5. In order to succeed, he insinuated, that God, through 
motives of selfishness, had given the prohibition : " God 
doth know that in the day ye eat of it ye shall be like to 
himself," &c. 

6. As their present state of blessedness must be inex- 
pressibly dear to them, he endeavoured to persuade 


them tfeat they could not fall from this state, " Ye shall 
not surely die ;" ye shall not only retain your present 
blessedness, but it shall be greatly increased : a tempta- 
tion by which he has ever since fatally succeeded in the 
ruin of multitudes of souls, whom he persuaded that 
being once right they could not finally go wrong. 

7- As he kept the unlawfulness of the means pro- 
posed out of sight, persuaded them that they could not 
iall from their steadfastness, assured them that they 
should resemble God himself, and consequently, be self- 
sufficient and totally independent of him, they listened ; 
and fixing their eye only on the promised good, neglect- 
ing the positive command, and determining to become 
wise and independent at all events, they took of the 
fruit, and did eat ! Alas, alas ! how are the mighty 
fallen ! 

All the descendants of the first guilty pair resemble 
their degenerate ancestors, and copy their conduct. The 
original mode of transgression is still continued, and the 
original sin in consequence. Behold the proof ! 

1. Every human being is endeavouring to obtain 
knowledge by unlawful means, even while the lawful 
means and every available help are at hand. 

2. They are endeavouring to be independent, and to 
live without God in the world ; hence prayer, the lan- 
guage of dependance on God's providence and grace, is 
neglected, I might say detested, by the great majority of 

3. Being destitute of the true knowledge of God, 
they seek privacy for their crimes, not considering that 
the eye of the Lord is upon them ; being only solicitous 
to hide them from the eye of man. 

I need not add, how the nachash, the woman, and the 
man were sentenced and degraded ; the Bible is before 
the reader — let him read, understand, and reflect. He 


will there see more, and more correctly, than the greatest 
of human poets has either conceived or sung, 

" Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit 
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste 
Brought death into the world, and all our woe, 
With loss of Eden/' 

And he who undertakes to write on this fearful sub- 
ject, should with no ordinary fervour offer the poet's 
prayer : — 

" What in me is dark 

Illumine ; what is low, raise and support 
That to the height of this great argument 
I may assert eternal Providence, 
And justify the ways of God to man." 

Milton, Farad. Lost, b. i. 

IV I come now to consider the prospect which the 
most merciful God holds out, of being saved from this 
corruption, and its consequences ; " There are given unto 
us exceeding great and precious promises." 

Man, having fallen into this state of excessive and 
shameful degradation by his own fault and folly, might 
have reasonably calculated on being left to sink lower, 
and yet lower still, into the bottomless pit of his own 
pollution ; destitute of help in himself, and of succour 
from that God of whose gifts and graces he had made 
such a fearful abuse : but God, who is rich in mercy, 
was pleased, with the sentence of degradation and punish- 
ment, to hold out, by a comparatively obscure promise, 
the restoration of his fallen soul to the glory he had lost, 
and the perfection which he had forfeited, by a disobe- 
dience to the simplest and easiest of commands, which 
without provocation, and without excuse, he had most 
shamefully transgressed : the promise, to which I have 
already referred, and which may be well denominated an 
exceeding great and precious promise, as in the text, is 


the following : " And unto the serpent he said, I will 
put enmity between thee and the woman, and between 
thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and 
thou shalt bruise his heel," Gen. iii. 13. 

The sequel shows us that this was a promise of the in- 
carnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who for us men and 
for our salvation came down from heaven, and was in- 
carnate of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin ; 
" and being made man, he suffered, died, rose again from 
the dead, having obtained eternal redemption for us;" 
and he commanded that " repentance and remission of 
sins should be preached in his name through all nations ; 
for he saveth to the uttermost (from all the consequences 
of the fall) all them who come unto the Father through 
him." Thus, " God was manifested in the flesh," and 
by " the sufferings and death of this Divine Being upon 
the cross for our redemption, made there, by his one 
oblation of himself, once offered, a full, perfect, and suf- 
ficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of 
the whole world ;" and has commanded his gospel to be 
preached to all mankind, to show them that he, " Jesus 
Christ, has tasted death for every man; that he ever 
waits to be gracious — that he willeth not the death of 
a sinner, but would have all men to be saved and come 
to the knowledge of the truth, — and that whosoever 
cometh unto the Father by him, he will in no wise cast 

These are general promises relative to what Christ has 
done for us ; but they are exceeding great and precious. 
There are, however, particular promises equally great 
and precious, which refer to the work which Christ 
is to do in us, in order to our escaping the corrup- 
tion that is in the world, and the corruption that is in 
ourselves ; that, being saved from the " bondage of this 
corruption," and brought into the " glorious liberty of the 


sons of God," we may " have our fruit unto holiness, and 
being filled with the fulness of God, have an abundant 
entrance into the holiest by the blood of Jesus." These 
are some of the " exceeding precious promises," to which 
the apostle in the text refers, and which are too well 
known to need the formal quotation of book, chapter, 
and verse, to persuade the reader that they are contained 
in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. 

The Jews were distinguished in a very particular man- 
ner by the promises which they received from God — the 
promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and the pro- 
phets. God promised to be their God, — to support, pro- 
tect, and save them ; to give them what was emphati- 
cally called the promised Land ; and to cause the 
Messiah to spring from their race. Now, St. Peter in- 
timates to the Gentiles, to whom he writes, that God 
had also given to them " exceeding great and precious 
promises;" indeed, all the promises which he had given 
to the Jews, the mere settlement in the Promised Land 
excepted ; but this also he had given in all its spiritual 
meaning and force. And besides to. fityiara £7rayyt\juara, 
those superlatively great promises, which distinguished 
the Mosaic dispensation, he had given them also ra ripia 
£7rayy«\/xara, the valuable promises, those which came 
through the Great Price ; viz., Enrolment with the 
church of Christ ; redemption in and through the blood 
of the cross ; the continual indwelling influence of the 
Holy Spirit ; the resurrection of the body, and eternal 
rest at the right hand of God. We may at once see that 
it was of considerable consequence to the comfort and 
stability of the Gentiles that these promises were made to 
them ; and that salvation was not exclusively of the Jews. 
In closely considering the Scriptures, we shall find 
that the " exceeding great and precious promises" were 
of two kinds, 1. Those which relate to what God pro- 


mised to do for man ; and 2dly, Those which relate to 
what he will do in man. The promise of the Messiah, 
and everything conneetecLwith his incarnation, passion, 
death, and resurrection, were included in the first. The 
promise of the Holy Spirit, as the consequence of the 
incarnation, &c, to apply the blessings purchased, belongs 
to the second. By the first, all that was necessary in 
order to man's salvation was announced. By the second, 
all that was necessary in order to his glorification was 

To save the reader trouble, I shall set down a few of 
those " exceeding great and precious promises . 

I. Relative to what Christ was to do for us. 

II. Relative to what Christ is to do in us, taken in- 
differently from the Old and New Testaments. 

I. Promises relative to the salvation of man by Christ 

"I will put enmity between thee and the woman, 
and between thy seed and her seed ; it shall bruise 
thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel ;" see Gen. 
iii. 15. 

" Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which 
shall be to all people ; for unto you is born this day, in 
the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord ;" 
Luke ii. 10, 11. 

" For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that 
which was lost ;" Luke xix. 10. 

" God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the 
world, but that the world through him might be saved ;" 
John iii. 1 7- 

" Neither is there salvation in any other ; for there is 
none other name under heaven, given among men, 
whereby we must be saved ;" Acts iv. 12. 

" This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all accepta- 


tion, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save 
sinners;" 1 Tim. i. 15. 

" We have seen and do testify that the Father sent 
the Son to be the Saviour of the world ;" 1 John iv. 14. 

And that this salvation was to be by means of a vica- 
rious offering of himself, is sufficiently evident from the 
following Scriptures : 

" Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sor- 
rows, — he was wounded for our transgressions, — bruised 
for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was 
upon him, and with his stripes we are healed, — the 
Lord hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all ;" Isai. 
liii. 4—6. 

" When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, 
— the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hands ;" 
Isai. liii. 10. 

" He shall see the travail of his soul, — by his know- 
ledge shall my righteous servant justify many, for he 
shall bear their iniquities ;" Isai. liii. 11. 

" As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I 
have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit;" Zech. 
ix. 11. 

" The Son of Man came — to give his life a ransom 
for many ;" Matt. xx. 28. 

" For when we were yet without strength, Christ died 
for the ungodly. While we were yet sinners, Christ 
died for us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom 
we have now received the atonement;" Rom. v. 6 — 11. 

" Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures ;" 
1 Cor. xv. 3. 

" I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved 
me, and gave himself for me ;" Gal. ii. 20. 

" Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, 
being made a curse for us ; for it is written, Cursed is 
every one that hangeth on a tree ;" Gal. iii. 13. 


"Ye know that ye were — redeemed — with the pre- 
cious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish, and 
without spot;" 1 Pet. i. 18, 19. 

" Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on 
the tree;" 1 Pet. ii. 24. 

" Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for 
the unjust ;" 1 Pet. iii. 18. 

" Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he 
loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our 
sins ;" 1 John iv, 10. 

"In whom we have redemption through his blood, 
the forgiveness of sins ;" Col. i. 14 ; Eph. i. 7« 

" We also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 
by whom we have now received the atonement ;" Rom. 
v. 11. 

" Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation 
through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness 
for the remission of sins that are past ;" Rom. iii. 25 ; 
Eph. i. 7- 

II. Promises relative to what Christ will do in be- 

" Ye are bought with a price, — glorify God in your 
body and in your spirit which are God's ;" 1 Cor. 
vi. 20. 

"But God, who is rich in mercy, even when we were 
dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ ;" 
Eph. ii. 4, 5. 

" Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us 
from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar 
people, zealous of good works ;" Tit. ii. 14. 

" For if the blood of bulls and of goats — sanctifieth 
to the purifying of the flesh ; how much more shall the 
blood of Christ — purge your conscience from dead works, 
to serve the living God !" Heb. ix. 13, 14. 


" For in Jesus Christ, neither circumcision availeth 
anything, nor uncircumcision ; but faith which worketh 
by love ;" Gal. y. 6. 

" He that believeth on me — out of his belly shall flow 
rivers of living water ; but this spake he of the Spirit, 
which they that believe on him should receive ;" John 
vii. 38, 39. 

" He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet 
shall he live ;" John xi. 25. 

" He that hath the Son hath life ;" 1 John v. 12. 

" In whom ye also are builded — a habitation of God 
through the Spirit ;" Eph. ii. 22. 

" Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual 
house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices 
acceptable to God;" 1 Pet. ii. 5. 

" Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye 
shall be clean : from all your filthiness, and from all your 
idols, will I cleanse you ; a new heart also will I give 
you, and a new spirit will I put within you ; and I will 
take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will 
give you a heart of flesh; and I will put my Spirit 
within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes ; and 
ye shall keep my judgments and do them ;" Ezek. xxxvi. 


"God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in 
them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my 
people : and I will be a father unto you, and ye shall be 
my sons and my daughters, saith the Lord Almighty ;" 2 
Cor. vi. 16—18. 

" Having therefore these promises, — let us cleanse our* 
selves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfect- 
ing holiness in the fear of God;" 2 Cor. vii. 1. 

"The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all 
sin ;" 1 John i. 7- 

" These are they which came out of great tribulation, 



and have washed their robes, and made them white in 
the blood of the Lamb ;" Rev. vii. 14. 

" But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, 
we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of 
Jesus Christ his Son eleanseth us from all sin ;" 1 John 

i. 7- 

" Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for 

it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it, — that he might 
present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, 
nor wrinkle, nor any such thing, but that it should be 
holy and without blemish ;" Eph. v. 25 — 27 

" That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith ; that 
ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to 
comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and 
length, and depth, and height ; and to know the love of 
Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled 
with all the fulness of God;" Eph. iii. 17 — 19. 

"And ye are complete in him (k<u tare tv avrtp 7re:rXj?pw- 
fiivoi — And ye are filled with him), which is the head of 
all principality and power ;" Col. ii. 10. 

These are some of the many " exceeding great and 
precious promises, by which we may be made partakers 
of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that 
is in the world by lust." But the Bible is full of them, 
because the Bible shows the fall of man, and his reco- 
very by Christ. And this recovery implies his being 
restored to the image of God in which he was created, 
and which by sin he lost. They, then, who are not re- 
stored to the image of God — righteousness and true holi- 
ness, are not profited by his sacrificial offering. None 
by saying, Lord, Lord, can enter into the kingdom of 
heaven ; but they who do the will of our Father who is 
in heaven ; and none can do that will whose hearts are 
not purified from all unrighteousness. 


Let us review the whole subject : it is of infinite im- 
portance to mankind — 

1. The Christ must become incarnate, teach, work 
miracles, suffer, die, rise again from the dead, explain 
the nature of his salvation, and give authority to pro- 
claim it. 

2. The Holy Spirit must be sent from the Father 
to awaken the consciences of men; convince them of 
sin, righteousness, and judgment ; apply the promise of 
pardon to the consciences of penitent sinners ; and when 
they have freely accepted Christ crucified for their Sa- 
viour, then to testify with their spirits that God, for 
Christ's sake, has blotted out all that is past ; and thus, 
being justified freely through the redemption that is in 
Christ, having an entrance into the holiest by his 
blood, and by that Spirit being purified from all un- 
righteousness, the carnal mind totally destroyed, and the 
whole image of God restamped upon the soul, they may 
be fully qualified for, and at last received into, an eternal 
state of glory and happiness. 

Justification comes through what Christ has done for 

Sanctification comes through what Christ's Spirit does 
in man. 

Those whose faith rests only in the first do not receive 
the second. 

Those who do not receive the second cannot see God. 

The bare belief of justification, through the passion 
and death of Christ, pardons no man's sins. 

The bare belief of sanctification through his blood, 
makes no man holy. Pardon must be received into the 
conscience, f Holiness must be received into the heart. 
This is evident from what the apostle says in the text ; 
which is stated under the following head. . 

V The end to which they are called to be made " par- 

r 2 


takers of the divine nature ;" and to " escape the cor- 
ruption that is in the world." 

The object of all God's promises and dispensations 
was to bring fallen man back to that state of blessedness 
in which he was created, and to the image of God 
which he had lost. This is the sum and substance of 
the whole gospel and religion of Christ. We hare par- 
taken of an earthly, sensual, devilish nature ; the design 
of God is to remove this, and make us " partakers of the 
divine nature ;" and save us from the corruption, in prin- 
ciple and fact, "which is in the world;" and this is 
termed " being made partakers of the divine nature," 
Iva ytvutoOt Onaq koivuvoi fyvvrng, that ye may be partakers 
of a divine nature — not the divine nature, as if the nature 
of God were meant ; but a divine nature, a holy frame 
of soul, a holy heart, full of pure and righteous tempers, 
affections, and desires. The former nature was evil and 
earthly— this nature is heavenly and divine ; one leads 
to earth and animal enjoyments, the other leads to heaven 
and pure spiritual blessedness. Of such a nature they 
are to be, koivuvoi, such participators as to have fellow- 
ship with those who are of such a nature. They are to 
be made fit companions for the saints in light. An un- 
holy man cannot enter into heaven ; and were he in it, 
it would be no enjoyment to him, because it is not suited 
to him. The nature of- the resident must be suited to 
the place of residence. The fishes live not on the elms, 
and the cattle browse not in the depths of the sea. Hell 
is for demons and wicked men ; heaven, for holy angels, 
and the spirits of just men made perfect. There is a 
fellowship among devils, and those who are partakers of 
a diabolic nature ; for aught we know, 

" Devil with devil damned firm concord holds ;" 

and we know that the inhabitants of heaven are brethren 


with holy souls. See the address of the' apocalyptic 
angel to St. John, who fell down at his feet in order to 
worship him. "See," says he, "thou do it not; for I 
am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, 
and of them which keep the sayings of this Book : 
worship God;" Rev. xxii. 9. 

Let none of the corrupt, those who through lust are 
under the influence of the spirit of the world, expect 
to enter into the kingdom of God. No man's creed, 
howsoever orthodox, will save him. Devils believe and 
tremble ; and who have more orthodox creeds than they ? 
No passport to heaven, but Christ in the heart, the hope 
of glory. For in Christ Jesus, circumcision is nothing, 
and uncircumcision is nothing, but a new creation — the 
faith which worketh by love, and purifieth the heart. 
We must have a divine nature to go to a divine place. 
We are called by his glory and virtue — by his glorious 
power in us, as the means, to his own glory as the end. 
He works virtue, holiness, and purity in us by the energy 
of his Spirit ; and calls us to a future state of blessed- 
ness, by glory and virtue as exciting agents. Now this 
state of salvation is to be expected by those " who 
escape the corruption that is in the world." The word 
is very emphatic, cnrotpvyovTeg ttjq iv koct/x^ (j>9opag — not 
only having escaped, but who " are escaping the corrup- 
tion that is in the world through evil concupiscence," 
or irregular desire of any kind, and every kind. God 
purifies no heart in which sin is indulged. We must 
escape, and continue to escape ; there is a " corruption 
in the world"—- our " adversary, the devil, goeth about as 
a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." In every 
step of our way of probation, there is either an occurring 
or pursuing corruption, some form of temptation which 
has not been before seen, or some of those which, once 
having been inmates, have been cast out, and are ever 


seeking tind watching for an opportunity to re-enter. 
" Hence, we must run, and run on ; flee, and continue 
fleeing ; forgetting the things that are behind, and reach- 
ing forth unto those that are before, we must press 
towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of 
God in Christ Jesus ;" Phil. iii. 13, 14. 

Let the serious reader, who ardently wishes to get his 
soul saved, take in a condensed view the sum of what 
has been already said, viz. : — 

1. Thou also art a subject of that mighty working of 
the corruption that is in the world through lust, or the 
principle of irregular and unholy desire. 

2. Pray to God deeply to convince thee of thy fallen 
state, and to give thee true repentance. 

3. Pray to God earnestly, that thou mayest never rest 
till thou hast a clear sense of thy acceptance with God, 
through the Son of his love. 

4. As he convinced thee that thou hadst a guilty con- 
science, and didst need pardon, pray to him that he may 
convince thee that thou hast a fallen nature — also an 
evil heart — a spirit that lusteth to envy — and that it must 
be regenerated and purified from all unrighteousness. 

5. Seek this blessing with thy whole soul — in all 
things — in all means — in all times : never lose sight of 
thy necessity, and of God's ability to save. 

6. Read the exceeding great and invaluable promises 
relative to this point ; they are numerous, both in the 
Old and New Testaments. 

7. Fear not to take the fullest view of inbred sin — beg 
of God to lead thee by his Spirit into every chamber of 
the house of imagery. 

8. Having seen thy own heart, abhor thyself. Thou 
hast already received redemption in his blood, the for- 
giveness of sins ; but feel, deeply feel, that thou must 
have the " very thoughts of thy heart cleansed by the 


Inspiration of his Holy Spirit." Without this, thou 
canst not safely rest. 

9. While seeking this salvation, let no sin, however 
refined in appearance, have any dominion over thee ; 
beware of indulging any easily -besetting sin; abstain 
from every appearance of evil. 

10. Strongly exercise the faith thou hast already. It 
is as much thy duty to strive to believe, as it is to strive 
to pray. Use grace, and have grace. 

11. Do not give way to discouragement, He who 
hath promised to come will surely come. 

12. See that thou bring forth the fruits of that faith 
and love which thou already hast ; and in the spirit of 
loving obedience, according to thy present means of grace, 
expect that fulness of God which he has promised. 
Nothing can withstand the conquering blood of Jesus ; 
nothing, the sovereign energy of his Almighty Spirit. 
He will shortly say, " Be clean ;" and thou shalt be 

That God is able thus to cleanse the heart and affec- 
tions, and purify the soul, can admit of no doubt. 

That he wills the happiness of all his intelligent 
offspring is as evident, when the infinite excellence and 
benevolence of his nature is considered. 

And that he is thus able and thus willing at all times, 
cannot be reasonably disputed; and for proof of these 
things, look at his exceeding great and precious pro- 

May not every believer in Christ Jesus come even now 
to the throne of grace, and ask mercy and find grace 
for this and every other time of need ? Yes : and what 
he purifies, he can and will keep pure. Reader, have 
faith in God. He is more willing to give than thou art 
to receive, and is wont to give more than thou canst 


desire. # He will therefore save thee to the uttermost. 
And after having guided thee by his counsel through life, 
he will receive thee into his everlasting glory. Then to 
him who hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in 
his own blood, to him be glory and dominion for ever 
and ever Amen. 



Romans xv. 4. 

" Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for 
our learning ; that we, through patience and comfort of the Scrip- 
tures, might have hope." 

In that short but comprehensive and excellent prayer, 
attributed to St. Chrysostom, with which our public 
prayers generally terminate, we beseech the " Almighty 
God to grant us in this world the knowledge of his 
truth, and in the world to come life everlasting;" and 
in thus praying we express our conviction that there is 
a state of everlasting blessedness beyond the duration of 
all earthly things ; that it is the gift of God ; that his 
truth alone not only declares this, but teaches the way in 
which it may be attained ; and that the knowledge of 
this truth must be received from God himself. 

As the truth in question must be that which concerns 
the true happiness of man, the immortality of the soul, 
the worship which we owe to our Creator, and that which 
qualifies the soul for a state of eternal blessedness, it is a 
thing which man cannot acquire by himself, nor teach 
to his neighbour : it must be taught by God ; and this 
must be a revelation of his will to mankind. Now, this 
revelation must be given either by continual inspiration 

r 3 

388 DIVINE revelation; 

on the mind of every individual, teaching, in all cases of 
necessity, what each should know, believe, and perform, 
in order to escape evil, and do that which is lawful and 
right in the sight of him by whom actions are weighed, 
and who will finally reward every man according to his 

Or, if this mode of continual inspiration on the mind of 
every man, varied throughout life, according to his chang- 
ing circumstances, be considered as rather a clumsy mode 
of conveying divine instruction, then there is another, 
and but that one, and that is by one full revelation of his 
will, given in such a time, and to such persons, as he 
may think proper to choose ; and by causing this revela^- 
tion to be written and recorded, and copies of it endlessly 
multiplied, each individual, by having recourse to it, may 
learn to know God's will, and everything that concerns 
his present safety and eternal blessedness. Now this is 
in fact what God has done. He has given us what is 
called, by way not only of distinction, but eminence, the 
scripture, and this he communicated in ancient times 
to holy men, by the inspiration of his own Spirit, who 
carefully wrote it down and delivered it to those to 
whom it was at first more immediately sent, and they 
have handed it down from generation to generation, 
without addition, defalcation, or wilful corruption of any 
kind ; and to this the apostle in the text alludes, when 
he says, "Whatsoever things were written aforetime, 
were written for our learning f and which another 
apostle characterizes thus : " All Scripture is given by 
inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for 
reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness ; 
that the man of God may be perfect, throughly fur- 
nished to every good work," 2 Tim. iii. 16, 17- And the 
same apostle says, " The prophecy (the different portions 
©f God's revealed will) came not in old time by the will 


of man ; but holy men of God spake as they were moved 
by the Holy Ghost," 2 Pet. i. 21. And this inspiration 
is essentially necessary to constitute what is called divine 
revelation, the Holy Scripture, the Bible, or the Old and 
New Testaments. 

But though the divine inspiration of this sacred 
volume be granted, there are some very important ques- 
tions which may be reasonably asked relative to the 
manner in which this revelation was made ; the times, 
the persons, the language, the mode of preservation ; the 
moral certainty that it has been handed down entire, and 
that the various translations and versions faithfully repre- 
sent, as to the full scope and meaning, the sacred originals 
from which they profess to be taken. 

Though a consideration of all these circumstances in 
detail would require a larger treatise, which cannot com- 
port with the ordinary length of a sermon, yet some 
general statements may be made that will give satisfac- 
tion to reasonable inquiry. 

In order to this, I shall consider,-^- 

I. The absolute necessity of a divine revelation. 

II. The various mays in which a revelation of the 
divine will has been given to men. 

III. The languages in which these divine communis 
cations were made and recorded. 

IV The ancient Versions or translations by which 
this divine revelation has been diffused and authentic 

Y Examine the question, Is this revelation, as we 
have it now, entire ? have no parts been lost — no spurious 
writings added ? 

VI. The benefit to be derived from a proper know* 1 
ledge and study of the Scripture. 

VII. Make a short application of the whole. 

390 DIVINE revelation; 

I. The absolute necessity of a divine revelation. 

That the revelation in question should have been 
made, or in other words, that it is absolutely necessary, 
is a point that should be first sufficiently established. 

If God be the sole fountain of light and truth, all 
knowledge must be derived from him. " The spirit of 
a man may know the things of a man ; but the Spirit of 
God can alone know and teach the things of God." 
That is, the human intellect, in its ordinary power and 
operation, is sufficient to comprehend the various earthly 
things that concern man's sustenance and welfare in 
social life ; but this intellect cannot fathom the things of 
God ; it cannot find out the mind of the Most High ; 
it knows not his will ; it has no just idea of the end for 
which man was made — of that in which his best inter- 
ests lie — of its own nature — of the nature of moral good 
and evil— how to avoid the latter, and how to attain the 
former, in which true happiness, or the supreme good, 
consists ; and these things it is the province of a divine 
revelation to teach; for without this, they have never 
been taught or conceived by man. 

All these may appear to be gratuitous assertions, and 
to require positive proof. I grant it ; and they should not 
have been hazarded were not the proofs at hand. And I 
acknowledge farther, that these proofs should not be 
sought for in the Bible merely, but in history and fact ; 
that the history should be that of all the nations of the 
world, and the facts as numerous as the nations and their 

One assertion, which I do not produce as proof, though 
I know it is such, shall bring forward generally the 
proofs I have in view ; it is the saying of an eminent 
man, partaking of no ordinary portion of the inspiration 
here contended for ; it is this, " The world by wisdom 
knew not. God." This short saying contains all the 


assertions made above ; and history and facts must now 
be produced to confirm them. 

Most nations of the earth, who have pretended to any 
degree of civilization, have been careful to preserve their 
own records, even from the remotest periods ; and in the 
course of the Divine Providence, these have come down 
to the present times ; and by these we can judge both of 
the civil and moral state of those nations. And we are 
not in danger of forming unfavourable conclusions, if we 
abide by the letter of their own histories, as they have 
been evidently drawn up with much partiality, pressing 
everything into their service that appeared calculated to 
promote their pretensions to antiquity, eminence, and 
national honour. Others who have written of such 
nations have greatly lowered the standard of their assumed 
excellence ; from which we may safely conclude that 
the medium between both relations approximates pretty 
nearly to the truth. 

From all the accounts we have of the most eminent, 
ancient, and celebrated nations, such as the Egyptians, 
Chaldeans, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans, we 
find them, from their own relations, to have been desti- 
tute of the knowledge of the true God ; and although 
cultivating various arts and sciences, yet fierce, barba- 
rous, and cruel. Their history is a tissue of frauds, 
aggressions, broken truces, assassinations, revolts, insur- 
rections, general disorder, and insecurity. Their laws, 
despotic and oppressive ; their kings and governors, 
tyrants ; their statesmen, time-servers and oppressors of 
the common people ; their soldiers, licensed plunderers ; 
their heroes, human butchers ; their conquests, the blast 
of desolation and death on empires and nations ; their 
religions, superstitious, gross, brutal, and unclean ; and 
their gods, and the general object of their worship, worse 
in their character and acknowledged practices, than the 


most villanous and execrable of men. And what must 
be the imitations in their votaries, when they had such 
originals to copy? This was their general state and 

But were not the highly-cultivated Greeks, and the 
learned and polite Romans, illustrious exceptions? I 
except none of them from this general censure. Read 
their own histories, those of the republics of Greece, and 
what do you find ? Treasons, insurrections, crimes, and 
carnage of all descriptions. Consult, also, the Roman 
writers on their republican, consular, tribunal, regal, and 
imperial states ; and see the portraits which those master- 
painters have sketched ; and what do you behold ? no 
caricatures, but likenesses from life — features, naturally 
fell and distorted, scowling through the deep and murky 
shades which serve to relieve and make them prominent* 

A Roman citizen, well acquainted with their history 
and character, living in the very times of their highest 
cultivation both in language and arts, thus describes 
them : — " They were vain in their imaginations ; their 
foolish heart was darkened ; professing themselves to be 
wise, they became fools ; they changed the glory of the 
incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible 
man, and to quadrupeds and reptiles. They had vile 
affections, and were given up to a reprobate mind ; were 
filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, 
covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, debate, 
deceit, malignity ; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, 
despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, dis- 
obedient to parents, without understanding, covenant- 
breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmer- 
ciful." See Saul of Tarsus, in his Epistle to the Romany 
chap. i. 21 — 32. 

All these charges are found, sustained, and proved by 
their own historians and poets ; see Tacitus, Livy, Sue- 


tonius, Juvenal, and Horace. And that, with all their 
boasted knowledge, they knew not God, is abundantly- 
clear from their superabundant idolatry; their gods 
many, and their lords many. Even at this time there 
were multitudes of Jews among them, who were well 
known to be worshippers of one simple, pure, and infi- 
nite Being, called God, or Jehovah; from whom they 
might have got some consistent ideas concerning the 
Supreme Being ; yet so grossly darkened were their 
minds, even when boasting the highest attainments in 
useful and ornamental sciences and arts, that they had 
no perception of the truth. One of their greatest men in 
knowledge and philosophy, and in eloquence unrivalled, 
M. T. Cicero, who searched into the subject, and wrote 
a treatise expressly upon it, De Natura Deorum, which 
remains to the present day, could not, with all his vast 
abilities and learning, make out any rational account of 
the Divine Nature ; thought there might be something 
of this kind, which he terms illud inexprimabile — that 
ineffable thing ; but, after all, concludes with doubting 
whether there be gods or not ! So true is the assertion 
made above, " The world by wisdom knew not God ;" 
and God permitted it to try its highest powers, cultivated 
to the utmost pitch, in minds of the first order, and in 
circumstances and times the most advantageous and pro- 
mising, in order to teach all men this most important 
lesson, that God can be seen only in his own light ; and 
that no man can know anything relative to his peace 
and salvation, unless it be given him from above : in a 
word, except by such a revelation of his own will, as in 
his great compassion and mercy he has given us in his 

As a corroborating fact, we find that the nations who 
have received this sacred book, and availed themselves 
of its light and advantages, are among the wisest, great- 

394 divine revelation; 

est, and most powerful nations of the earth ; and that 
these very nations have riches, dominion, and excellence, 
just in the proportion in which they have received these 
words of wisdom, and have had their hearts and lives 
regulated by them ; while all others are lying in the mire 
of sin and bonds of iniquity, degraded below the human 
character, without one redeeming trait in their minds, or 
power in their souls, to rescue them from the disgrace, 
pain, and misery of their state. Thus we find, that it 
was essentially necessary that we should have an inspired 
revelation, and that something should have been " writ- 
ten aforetime for our learning." 

Nor has the lapse of time mended the moral condition 
and character of the heathen nations. Our extensive 
commercial connexions, not only with the nations of 
Europe and America, but also with the principal heathen 
kingdoms and states in most parts of the world, have 
brought us to an intimate acquaintance with the dark 
places of the earth, which are filled with the habitations 
of cruelty : and what have we seen ? Darkness covering 
every land, and gross darkness the hearts of the people. 
Idolatry the most disgusting, and superstition the most 
foolish and degrading, closely associated with ridiculous 
ceremonies and cruel rites. Religious suicide; aban- 
donment of the aged to starvation when past labour, or 
left in the woods to be devoured by wild beasts when in 
hopeless disease ; exposure of infants ; burning of widows 
with the bodies of their deceased husbands, their own 
children lighting the funeral pyre! the most painful, 
unmeaning, and lengthened-out pilgrimages; religious 
fasts, by which health and strength are exhausted ; and 
feasts, where the man sinks into the beast : — all these, 
and more of a similar kind, equally degrading and de- 
structive, prevail among the millions of Asia, and espe- 
pecially among what are called the civilized, mild, and 


pacific inhabitants of Hindostan ! These are the nations 
that know not God, and have not received that revelation 
by which alone he can be made known, and by which 
man can be made wise unto salvation. Time, therefore, 
brings about no moral changes in the individuals, nor 
conversions among nations. It is the revelation of God, 
the gospel of his Son Jesus Christ, that is the power of 
God to salvation to every one that believeth, whether 
Jew or Greek, Barbarian, Scythian, bond or free. What 
were our own forefathers before the gospel was planted 
here ? A nation of savages. And what has Christianity 
done for their descendants? It has made them the 
greatest, most enlightened, most powerful, and most 
eminent of the nations of the globe. Compare even 
our present state as a Christian people with our former 
state as heathens, and then exclaim, What hath God 
wrought ! 

The human heart, left to its own workings, either 
sinks in the mire, or falls over precipices. What aid 
has man ever found from what is called natural religion ? 
In comparison with revelation, it is a rushlight against 
the sun, howsoever modelled by the inventions of man. 
It neither enlightens, warms, nor invigorates ; the breath 
of God is not in it ; for what is the chaff to the wheat ? 
saith the Lord. 

II. The manner in which the revelation of the divine 
will was made to men is worthy of particular inquiry, 
as it is both curious and important. There is sufficient 
evidence from the Scriptures themselves that this was 
given in the five following ways : — 

1. By the personal appearance of him who is termed 
the "Angel of the Covenant," and " the Angel in whom is 
the name of Jehovah ;" who was afterwards revealed as 
the Saviour of mankind. He is called mrv ixbra Maleach 


Yehomh^the "Angel (or Messenger) of Jehovah," Gen, 
xvi. 7 ; and bxyn *j>6an hammaleach hagoel, "the redeeming 
Angel," or " the Angel the Redeemer," Gen. xlviii. 16 ; 
and van -|xbn mcdeach panaiv, " the Angel of his (God's) 
presence," Isai. lxiii. 9; and mnn ~\thn maleach haberitk, 
" the Angel of the Covenant," Mai. iii. 1. This Person 
frequently appeared to the patriarchs, foretelling what 
God alone could know, and promising to perform what 
God alone could do. It was this Angel that appeared to 
Abram, Gen. xv. 1, &c, and gave the glorious promises 
of the redemption of the world by one (Christ) who 
should proceed from Abraham's stock ; and it was the 
same that appeared to Hagar, and delivered that remark- 
able prophecy relative to the descendants of Ishmael, 
which has been so circumstantially fulfilled in the whole 
history of his posterity; being one of those prophecies 
which is very legitimately produced to show the divine 
inspiration of the Mosaic records. To enter into an 
examination of the passages quoted above would lead 
into details inconsistent with the length of a public dis- 

2. A second mode by which God communicated the 
knowledge of his will was an audible voice, sometimes 
accompanied by emblematical appearances. In this way 
God revealed himself to Adam in Paradise, Gen. i. 28 : 
" And God said unto them (Adam and Eve), Be fruitful 
and multiply, and replenish the earth." Gen. ii. 16 : 
" And the Lord commanded the man, saying, Of every 
tree in the garden thou mayest freely eat." Gen. iii. 8 : 
" And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in 
the garden." Gen. iii. 15 : " And I will put enmity 
between thy seed and her seed ; it shall bruise thy head, 
and thou shalt bruise his heel." And it was by such a 
voice that Moses received almost every communication 
that is mentioned in the Pentateuch. And by this same 


mode was Samuel called to be a prophet, a priest, and 
one of the greatest judges of Israel. See 1 Sam. iii. 
4 — 10. But these audible voices were often accompa- 
nied by striking emblematical appearances. Thus Jere- 
miah was instructed to show the Israelitish rulers and 
people their speedy and irretrievable ruin by the emblem 
of broken bottles, Jer. xix. 1 — 12. Ezekiel showed the 
same calamity by the emblem of burnt hair, chap. v. 1 . 
The ephah, Zech. v. 5 ; good and bad figs, Jer. xxiv. 1, 
&c. ; the marred belt, Jer. xiii,. 1 — 7 ; plumb-line, Amos 
vii. 7 ; an d several other matters, were emblems which 
God used to illustrate the predictions which he delivered 
to his prophets in general. 

3. A third mode was by the ministry of angels, often 
working miracles. Thus an angel appeared to Jacob, 
changed his name, predicted his future greatness, and by 
a supernatural influence upon his body, gave him a sign 
for the fulfilment of the prediction, Gen. xxxii. 24, &c. 
An angel appeared also to Moses in a burning-bush, and 
gave him those glorious promises relative to the deliver- 
ance of the Israelites from bondage, and their settlement 
in the promised land; see Exod. iii. and iv. Gideon 
(Judg. vi.), Manoah (Judg. xiii.), and others, received 
pointed revelations from God by angelic ministry. And 
Joshua, by the ministry of the angel called the Captain of 
the Lord's Host, got the assurance of his success in the 
conquest of the heathen nations of Canaan, Josh. v. 13. 
And God confirmed their testimony ; for it is written that 
the word thus spoken by angels was stedfast, Heb. ii. 2. 
But the chief of those angelic appearances were of Him 
who was afterwards God manifested in the flesh; see 

4. By dreams and visions of the night, or in trances 
by day. In one of the former, Solomon received that 
inspiration and extraordinary wisdom from God, that 

398 DIVINE revelation; 

qualified him not only to be the most eminent king, but 
also enabled him to write those books which still bear 
his name* in the inspired volume; see 1 Kings iii. 5 — 15. 
And that wonderful prophecy relative to the five great, 
empires was delivered in a dream to Nebuchadnezzar, 
and interpreted by Daniel ; see Dan. ii. 31 — 45. And 
the prophecy relative to the destruction of the Chaldean 
empire, Dan. iv. 10 — 18. See also Pharaoh's dream, 
relative to the dearth in Egypt, interpreted by Joseph ; 
see Gen. xl. 5, &c. In a vision God revealed to Abram 
the promise of the Messiah, Gen. xv. 1, &c. ; and in a 
trance the affliction and deliverance of his posterity, 
Gen. xv. 12—18. 

5. But the most common way was by direct inspira- 
tion ; by the powerful agency of God on the mind, giving 
it a strong conception and supernatural persuasion of 
the truth of the things which he revealed to the under- 
standing. The persons chosen to receive these inspira- 
tions were termed prophets, d-n^ nebiim, from Kna naba, 
to intercede, make prayer, and, in consequence, receive 
inspiration from God to declare his will ; and sometimes 
they were called seers, a s nn chozim, from run chazah, to 
see, i. e., supernatural things, spiritual sights ; to see 
mentally, by the help and inspiration of the Holy Ghost. 
The prophet and the seer were the same in most cases, 
but with this difference : the prophet had the impression 
made on his mind, transfusing spiritual ideas, whether 
in respect of the present or future. The seer had the 
divine communications by images and representations. 
The one perceived intellectually ; the other, by means of 
the imagination. The prophet knew by extraordinary 
impressions on his understanding ; the seer had symbo- 
lical representations. The seer was always a prophet, 
but the prophet was not always a seer. The first appears 
to have had frequent symbolical representations, as well 


as strong preternatural mental impressions; the second 
appears to have had the latter always without the former, 
except on particular occasions. 

The inspiration of these men is sometimes represented 
by the Lord coming down in a cloud, and taking his 
own Spirit and putting it on the appointed persons, and 
causing it to rest upon them. See the account of the 
inspiration of the seventy elders, Numb. xi. 25. In 
general, it is represented by the word of the Lord coming 
to the prophet or inspired man ; and who was enabled 
clearly to discern what God was about to do, or what he 
purposed to do at some future time. This is generally 
mentioned in the commissions which the prophets re- 
ceived, to go and make proclamation to the people of 
that which God would have them to know. " For he re- 
vealed his secrets to his servants the prophets," Amos 
iii. 7 ; and at such times they felt themselves " full of 
power by the Spirit of the Lord, and of judgment, and 
of might," Micah iii. 8. And those who received the 
prophetic gift are represented as " being filled with the 
Holy Ghost," Luke i. 67- Then " all the words which 
God spake unto them they received in their hearts, and 
proclaimed to the people," Ezek. iii. 10, 11. And this 
inspiration was often so powerful, that they could not 
repress it ; " the word in their heart was as a burning 
fire, shut up in their bones, and they could not forbear." 
See the case of Jeremiah, chap. xxvi. 12. 

No man could acquire the gift of prophecy by any in- 
dustry, or any human means ; for " the prophecy came 
not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God 
spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost," 2 Pet. i. 
21. They delivered the mind of God to the people : 
their own wills, and their opinions and inventions, they 
were not permitted to mingle with the testimony of their 
God; and hence, that testimony, being truth without 

400 divine revelation; 

any mixture of error, is properly termed that "Scripture 
which is given hy inspiration of God ;" and consequently, 
"is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, 
and for instruction in righteousness; that the man of 
God may be perfect, and throughly furnished unto all 
good works." And as all " these Holy Scriptures were 
written for our learning ;" and " Jesus Christ is the end 
of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth" — 
the sum and substance of the code of divine revelation ; 
therefore these "holy Scriptures are able to make us 
wise unto salvation through faith in him," 2 Tim. iii. 


The process of inspiration went gradually on for up- 
wards of 4000 years ; when He, " who at sundry times 
and in divers manners spoke in time past to the fathers 
by the prophets, at last spoke unto us by his Son ;" who, 
enduing his disciples with various gifts of the Holy Ghost, 
completed the canon of divine revelation, by adding the 
new covenant to the old, and thus furnishing everything 
necessary to perfect the instruction, and save the soul of 

This revelation God gave in several parcels or parts, 
at different times, in different places, and to different per- 
sons ; just as men could profit by it, and the circum- 
stances of his government of the world required it ; one 
portion making way for another, by preparing the mind 
for its reception. We give the elements of a science 
before we attempt to teach the science itself; we teach 
our children the alphabet, and to compound the letters 
into syllables and words, before we require them to read. 
In his first revelations to man, God gave the grand prin- 
ciples or outlines of all essential truth. In these words, 
" The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the 
serpent," God intimated the whole scheme of human re- 
demption by the Son of his love ; and in the rites and 


ceremonies of the Mosaic law, he showed the nature and 
necessity of that redemption, and how it was to be 
effected. Thus making original or primitive things the 
representatives of those that should succeed ; giving line 
■upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there 
a little, as men were able to bear and profit by it. Hence 
primitive communications are short, and comparatively 
obscure ; those that succeed clearer ; the prophetic light 
shining more and more to the perfect day. 

III. The languages in which these divine communi- 
cations were made, recorded, and preserved, is the third 
point to be considered. That the people who were to 
profit by them, and to keep and exactly obey them, should 
have them in their own language, is at once evident and 
reasonable. The law and the prophets belonged to the 
Jews ; the language of the Jews was Hebrew ; there- 
fore the law and the prophets were written in the He- 
hrew tongue. And so necessary did God ever consider 
it that the Holy Scriptures should be written in the 
vulgar language, that when the Jews were suffering a 
seventy years' captivity in Babylon, during which the 
knowledge of their native tongue was nearly lost, he 
caused the chief transactions of the time to be recorded 
in the Chaldean language, as we find in the Books of 
Ezra and the prophet Daniel. In Ezra, from ver. 8 of 
chap. iv. is Chaldee, to chap. vi. ver. 19, and from ver. 
12 of chap, vii., to ver. 27. In Daniel, the Chaldee 
begins chap, ii., ver. 4, and continues to the end of chap, 
vii. ; and for the benefit of those who either came young 
into Babylon, or were born there, as well as for those to 
whom the Chaldean tongue was now vernacular, a trans- 
lation of the law and the prophets was made by two 
learned, and as the Jews think inspired, men, Onkelos 
and Jonathan ben Uzziel, into the Chaldee ; these trans- 

402 divine revelation; 

lations, generally called Targums, remain to the present 
day. "Thus the providence of God took care that the 
people should read the Holy Scriptures, and that they 
should have them in the languages that were understood 
both by young and old. God gave this right to all to 
whom he sent these Scriptures ; and it is only a fallen 
heretical and apostate church which has dared to dispute 
this order of God, and take away this key of knowledge 
from the common people. 

But it may be asked, as this divine revelation was 
given at various times through a long lapse of time, "here 
a little, and there a little," how have these several parcels 
been preserved and collected in that book called, by way 
of eminence, the Bible ? In answer, it is proper to ob- 
serve, that during the 2000 years of the patriarchal dis- 
pensation nothing was committed to writing; all was 
held and communicated by tradition ; and through the 
longevity of the inhabitants of the earth during that 
period, and the strict family connexion that subsisted be- 
tween the heads of families and their descendants, such 
traditions were easily preserved, as they had but few hands 
to pass through, and were easily retained in memory. 
But however respectable the testimony of tradition in 
such circumstances, yet we are not obliged to receive 
this testimony as authentic and true, but as the facts 
have been collected and detailed by men divinely inspired; 
for those ancient and important facts, first preserved by 
tradition, have been collected by Moses, and are embo- 
died in his Pentateuch, under the broad seal of that Holy 
Spirit, by whom this eminent lawgiver and historian was 

I repeat it : in the antediluvian world, when the life 
of man was so protracted, there was comparatively little 
need for writing of any kind, as past transactions had to 
pass through but few hands. Tradition, therefore, an- 


swered every purpose to which writing in any kind of 
characters could be subservient. There could be little 
danger of any important fact becoming obsolete, as its 
history had to pass through very few hands, and all these 
friends and relatives, in the most proper sense of the 
terms ; as they lived in an insulated state, under a pa- 
triarch's government. Thus it was easy for Moses to be 
satisfied of the truth of all he relates in the Book of 
Genesis, as the accounts came to him through the hands 
of few persons. For from Adam to Noah there was but 
one man necessary to the correct transmission of the his- 
tory of this period of 1656 years. This history was, 
without doubt, perfectly known to Methuselah, who lived 
to see them both. In like manner Shem connected Noah 
and Abram, having lived to converse with both ; as Isaac 
did with Abram and Joseph, from whom all these things 
might have been easily conveyed to Moses by Amram, 
who was contemporary with Joseph. Supposing, then, 
that all the curious facts recorded in the book of Gene- 
sis had no other authority than the tradition already 
referred to, they would still stand upon a foundation 
of credibility superior to any that the most reputable of 
the Greek and Latin historians can boast. After the dis- 
persion of mankind in the time of Peleg, writing became 
necessary, not only because of this dispersion, but be- 
cause the life of man was so much abridged, and conse- 
quently tradition must become less certain as the facts 
had to pass through a multitude of hands; hence al- 
phabetical characters became absolutely necessary, as, 
without these, the records of the world must soon be 
obliterated from the swiftly succeeding generations of 

Perhaps the first regular alphabetic writing was that 

404 divine revelation; 

the Becalogue or ten commandments. That this writing 
was actually by the finger of God, and not by his com- 
mand, the following Scriptures amply prove : "The Lord 
said unto Moses, Come up to me in the mountain, and I 
will give thee the tables of stone, which I have written," 
Exod. xxiv. 12. "And he gave unto Moses tables of 
stone, written with the finger of God," Exod. xxxi. 18. 
" And the tables were the work of God, and the writing 
was the writing of God graven upon the tables," Exod. 
xxxii. 15, 16. "These words (viz. the ten command- 
ments) the Lord spake in the mount, out of the midst 
of the fire of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with 
a great voice ; and he added <no more, but he wrote them 
on two tables of stone," Deut. v. 22. Thus it appears 
God invented the characters, and wrote the first copy, 
and thereby testified his will, that the revelation he had 
made, and that which he should further make, should be 
committed to writing, not only for its preservation, but 
for the general benefit of mankind. Tradition and 
writing were the grand means by which these records 
were preserved and brought down to the latest posterity ; 
and it is the unanimous opinion of Jews and Christians, 
through all their generations,' that Ezra the scribe (who 
was one of the captivity), about the year of the world 
3547, before the Christian era, 457, under the guidance 
of the Divine Spirit, collected all the portions given by 
divine inspiration then extant, and arranged them in the 
manner in which they are found at the present time ; 
and in this order they have, with very little variation, 
existed from the captivity to the origin of printing, or a 
little after, when in A. D 1488, the first complete 
copy of the Hebrew Scriptures issued from the press at 
Soncini in Italy; since which time they have gone 
through innumerable impressions, both by Jews and 


Previously to the invention of printing, the Hebrew 
•Bible was carefully preserved among the Jews in MS., 
either on strong vellum, or a semi-tanned goat skin, com- 
monly called basil leather, both materials almost im- 
perishable, if kept from fire and damp ; the very oldest 
MSS., those that amount to nearly a thousand years 
(some of which are now in my library), being written in 
a large bold character, with excellent ink, are as legible 
now as they were at the beginning. Every synagogue in 
the world had always a copy of the law and of the pro- 
phets, which was preserved with the greatest care and 
veneration; and most Jewish families of respectability 
had at least the mm -ist? Sepher Torah, or " book of 
the law," and the rnosn Haphtorah, or Sabbath Readings 
from the prophets, which were handed down from father 
to son, or carefully replaced from the most authentic 
copies, if accidentally lost, damaged, or burnt. And to 
preserve the sacred volume from corruption and defal- 
cation, there was, from time almost immemorial, a class 
of Jewish critics, termed Masoretes, who not only had 
taken care to distinguish and number the different larger 
and smaller sections of the law, but also the very letters, 
so as to register the number in each part ,• and how often 
each alphabetical character occurred in each book : a work 
truly Herculean, but accomplished with amazing correct- 
ness by those ancient and most respectable literary 
drudges. This work, called the Masora, remains also to 
the present day ; and of it several MS. copies exist in 
my own library. We may affect to smile at the con- 
scientious punctiliousness of these critics, but their work 
and its preservation are proofs of their deep persuasion 
that their Scriptures came from God ; and that he who 
gave them had taken care that they should be most scru- 
pulously and sacredly preserved.* 

Let me add a few further considerations. 1. The He- 

s 2 


divine revelation; 

brew character, which is necessarily large and bold, was 
very proper for preservation. 2. The materials on which 
the text was written, were the least likely to perish or 
be decomposed. 3. The religious, not to say supersti- 
tious care, taken by the Jews of their MSS., prevented 
them in general from being damaged or lost. 4. The Jews 
themselves being preserved a distinct people, and by their 
ordinances and rites separated from all others, generally 
despised and often persecuted, were the more careful to 
perform their rites, and keep with sedulous care the re- 
Gords that enjoined them. 5. Their being read every 
sabbath, as well as on numerous festivals and fasts, in all 
their synagogues in every place of their dispersion, pre- 
vented them from the danger of being lost, or ever be- 
coming scarce : and indeed this is evident from the very 
form and style of writing in different parts of the world ; 
for although there is an essential form that belongs to 
every letter, as there is in the alphabetical characters of 
all languages, yet the Jews in different nations had a 
peculiar mode of constructing that essential form, so that 
those who are conversant with Hebrew MSS. can almost 
at the first view tell whether a MS. be written by a 
German, Spanish, or Italian Jew ; the former being in 
general large, rough, and inclined to the left ; the others 
being erect, full, and elegant. The synagogues, ever 
jealous over each other, lest any alterations, additions, or 
subtractions should be made, in any jot or tittle, or even 
in the vowel points, though of themselves not essential 
to the integrity of the language, have made positive rules 
to guard against these evils. 

6. There is another consideration that should not be 
overlooked. The general character of the Jews is a strong 
argument for the divine authority and safe custody of the 
Scriptures; they were proverbially incredulous and re- 
fractory*; and it was probably on this very ground that 


God chose them to he the keepers of his testimonies ; 
for, had they not had the most incontrovertible proofs 
that God had spoken by Moses and the prophets, they 
would neither have credited nor preserved his oracles. 
Their incredulity is therefore no mean proof of the divine 
authority of the Law and the Prophets. 

7- The evangelists and apostles of our Lord were all 
Jews, and partook deeply of the same spirit of incredu- 
lity, as several places in the Gospels prove; and had 
they not had the fullest evidence of the divinity of their 
Master, they would not have believed, much less have 
sealed the truth with their blood. Thus their incredulity 
is a strong proof of the authenticity of the Gospel. 

IV The ancient Versions made of the Hebrew Scrip- 
tures into different languages, rendered the destruction 
or material alteration of those Scriptures morally impos- 

The principal versions of the Hebrew text are, 1. The 
Law, or five books of Moses, in the very ancient Cufic 
Samaritan, made for that motley mixture of different na- 
tions which were sent into the kingdom of Israel by the 
kings of Assyria, after they had subdued that nation, 
and carried into captivity the principal inhabitants of the 
land. This version still exists, and is in the main a 
very fair representation of the sacred original. This has 
been printed with the Hebrew and Hebrseo-Samaritan 
text, in the first volume of the London Polyglot. And 
as it has been preserved from the remotest antiquity, 
before the invention of printing, it is not likely to perish 
now that it has been committed to the perpetuity of the 
typographic art. 

2. The Chaldeb Targums, or paraphrases of the Law 
and the Prophets, in the Chaldee language. That of 
Onkelos on the Law, and Jonathan on the Prophets, 

408 DIVINE revelation; 

have also been carefully preserved, as the former espe- 
cially has been considered by the Jews of all times as a 
work formed under an especial Divine direction. These 
also have been multiplied, both by Jews and Christians, 
by means of the press. 

3. The Syriac Version, which is very ancient, and 
faithful to the strict tenor and integrity of the Hebrew 
text, is still extant, and also multiplied by means of the 
press, and is still in use in all the Syrian churches. 

4. The Arabic Version of the Pentateuch, made by 
a very learned Jew, Rabbi Saadias Gaon, who flourished 
in the ninth century of the Christian era, is a most faith- 
ful work. Of this version, a very ancient copy, nearly 
of the time of the author, is in my own library, and is 
one of the most faithful versions I have ever seen in any 
language. It has been the basis of most of those in that 
tongue which have been since published. 

5. The Greek Version of the Septuagint has been 
both to Jews and Christians of the utmost importance, 
as a faithful testimony of the antiquity of the Jewish 
Scriptures, and their uncorrupted transmission to pos- 

This version was made by Jews, learned both in He- 
brew and Greek, at the command of Ptolemy Philadel- 
phus, king of Egypt, about 280 years before the Chris- 
tian era ; and for several hundreds of years was the sole 
text-book of the Hellenistic Jews, or Jews dwelling in 
all Greek nations, from the time of its formation to 
some centuries after our Lord's incarnation ; and its 
general fidelity is shown by its being that very version 
from which our blessed Lord and his apostles drew their 
quotations of the Law and the Prophets, which are still 
found in the evangelists, and in the apostolic epistles. 

The existence of the Old Testament in Greek, and its 
universal acceptance among the Jews, had probably no 


small influence in causing the New Testament to be 
written in Greek also, that the Jews, who were exceed- 
ingly numerous in Egypt, Arabia, Syria, different parts 
of Asia Minor, Greece, and Italy, who all used the 
Greek Version of the Septuagint, might have the New 
Covenant in the same language, and thus be able to 
compare both Testaments, and see how the prophecies of 
the Old were fulfilled in the New ; and that the Jews, 
both in Palestine and in all the countries of their dis- 
persion, might, as God had ordained, have the first offer 
of the Gospel made to them ; for the apostles, who were 
commanded to preach the Gospel to all the world, were 
strictly ordered to " begin first at Jerusalem." And as 
the Greek language, by the conquest of Alexander the 
Great, and the subsequent conquests of the Romans, 
had absorbed the dialects of the conquered provinces, 
the Greek became not only the language of the learned 
everywhere, but also that of the people at large. There 
was no other tongue then in the universe so well calcu- 
lated at once to preserve and convey the records of sal- 
vation ; hence, the Greek language was the original of 
the New Covenant, as the Hebrew had been that of the 
Old. But after that Jerusalem had been taken and 
destroyed by the Romans, and the Jews captivated and 
scattered over the face of the earth, as far as the Roman 
arms had reached, the Greek Version of the Septuagint 
became the common text- book to the Jews, as above 
noticed ; and the New Testament in Greek was its con- 
stant companion among all the converts to Christianity, 
whether originally Jews or Gentiles. And thus, by the 
especial providence of God, that which was " written of 
old" was so constructed as to become the means of spiri- 
tual and saving learning to the principal nations of the 

It is well known, that by an irruption of the northern 

410 divine revelation; 

nations (who are generally termed Goths and Yandals, 
the inhabitants of Scandinavia, the countries now called 
Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and the islands and territo- 
ries dependant on them), the Roman Empire was dis- 
membered, they seizing on the western parts ; and by 
this means the empire was alternately formed into two 
grand divisions, called the Eastern and Western Em- 
pires ; in the latter, the Roman or Latin language pre- 
vailed ; in the former, the Greek. In these two vast 
divisions, Christianity made a rapid progress. In the 
beginning of the fourth century, the conversion of Con- 
stantine the Great became the means of converting the 
major part of the great Roman Empire to the profession 
of the Christian faith ; the church of Christ w T as then 
universal in all parts of what was called the Roman 
empire ; but from the ninth to the eleventh century a 
gradual separation took place between the eastern and 
western parts of the church in this empire, which at 
last settled in a complete dismemberment of the church, 
which continues to the present day; one part bearing 1 
the name of the Eastern or Greek Church ; the other, 
that of the Western or Latin Church : the ecclesiastical 
government of the former being vested in patriarchs 3 
that of the latter, in popes. The language of the former 
was Greek, and all the services of that Church w r er© 
celebrated in the Greek language ; and their Bible was, 
and still continues to be, the Greek Yersion of the Sep- 
tuagint. The general language of the Western Church 
was Latin, and its services were performed in this lan- 
guage. To meet the necessities of the people, many 
attempts had been made to translate the Scriptures into 
the Latin tongue, but these being done by persons of no 
name or credit in the church, and but little skilled either 
in Hebrew or Greek, and the versions made being vari- 
ous and often contradictory, it pleased God to provide a 


remedy. In the beginning of the fourth century, a very 
able and learned man, called Hieronymus, and now 
commonly St. Jerome, was raised up in this church. 
He saw and deplored the want of a proper Latin version 
of the whole Scriptures, for the use of the Western 
Church ; encouraged by the chief ecclesiastical authori- 
ties, he undertook this work ; and the better to qualify 
himself for the task, took a voyage into Palestine, and 
remained there seven years, that, conversing with the 
most learned of the Jewish rabbins, he might acquire a 
thorough knowledge of the Hebrew tongue ; he then 
translated the whole of the Old and New Testaments 
into Latin, which, being approved by the church, was 
universally adopted, and thence was called the Vulgate, 
from vulgatus, " published," " common," or " ordinary ;" 
and this is what is used by the Latin or Roman Ca- 
tholic Church to the present day. 

Thus we find that the two languages which are al- 
lowed to be the most elegant and energetic of all the 
languages of the universe, and those in which all the 
learning, theology, poetry, and philosophy of the ancient 
world have been handed down to us — the Greek and the 
Latin, and which are still, by general consent, the grand 
vehicles of sciences and arts, have been those employed 
by Divine Providence to bring down the Scriptures to 
the present times. These are the vouchers for the 
authenticity of the Hebrew text, from which they have 
been taken ; and the Hebrew of the Old, and the Greek 
of the New, being still preserved, are the touch-stones 
to which these and all other versions and translations 
must be brought, to ascertain their correctness, and pre- 
vent additions, defalcations, and corruptions of every 
kind; and thus has God further provided, that that 
Revelation, so essentially necessary for the salvation of 
man, should be written for our learning in Hebrew and 


412 divine revelation; 


Greek ; and that the most important languages of the 
univerie — Greek and, Latin, should be the means of 
bringing down from those original springs, the pure and 
salubrious waters, for the salvation of mankind. On this 
account the Greek Version of the Septuagint, and the 
Vulgate Latin, are of the utmost consequence to the 
Christian Church. Had it not been for those ancient 
Versions, there would have been found, especially in the 
original Hebrew, a multitude of words and phrases, the 
meaning of which, in these after-times, we should have 
been utterly unable to find out. And I can safely add, 
that the best Greek scholar in the universe must labour 
in vain, in a great variety of cases, to make out the 
phraseology of the New Testament, without the assist- 
ance of the Septuagint Version ; and we have already 
noticed what light this version throws on many words 
and forms in the Hebrew originals. 

•It is impossible to consider this subject without being 
struck with the kindness and admirable providence of 
God, not only in giving us those Scriptures, but also in 
the choice of the languages in which they were originally 
written ; the principal versions by which they have been 
handed down to posterity ; the very characters in which, 
and the materials on which, they have been written; 
and the preservation of the whole, both in the originals 
and the ancient versions, by numerous MSS., which have 
been spread over the principal civilized nations of the 
world, and are at once the oldest and most important of 
all the MSS. which have survived the ravages of time. 
The Hebrew originals exist in numerous and very ancient 
MSS. in the hands of Jews and Gentiles in different parts 
of the earth. The Greek Version of the Septuagint, 
besides many MSS. of inferior note, is preserved in the 
Vatican at Rome, in what is called the Codex Vati- 
canus ; and in the library of the British Museum, in what 


is called the Codex Alexandrinus : two of the oldest, 
most carefully written, and most correct MSS. known 
to exist. As to the Latin Vulgate, it has been mul- 
tiplied by MSS innumerable ; and copies of all these, 
since the invention of printing, have been further mul- 
tiplied by an incalculable number of editions ! Such 
care has God taken that " what was written of old for 
our learning" should be carefully preserved for the ac- 
complishment of the end for which he has graciously 
designed it. Before I conclude on this head, it will not 
be amiss to mention the German Version of Luther, 
taken immediately from the originals ; and the English 
translation taken from the same, and published in this 
country by royal authority in the year 1611 ; both of 
which are the purest streams ever deduced from the 
original wells of salvation. 

In diffusing and preserving the knowledge of Divine 
Revelation, we have already seen that two venerable 
versions of the original Hebrew text, the Greek Sep- 
tuagint and the Latin Vulgate, were principal means in 
the hands of providence and grace of God ; the former 
especially became a very powerful instrument in pre- 
paring the way of the Gospel in the heathen world ; as 
it was that version which the Jews read, and carried 
with them into all the countries where they were dis- 
persed, and where there is full proof that many Gentiles 
examined and profited by it. 

Hated and despised as the Jews were among the 
proud Romans, and the still more haughty and super- 
cilious Greeks, their sojourning among them, and their 
Greek Version of the Scriptures, known by the name of 
the Septuagint, were the means of furnishing them 
with truer notions, and a more distinct knowledge of 
vice and virtue, of justice and equity, than they ever 
had before. 


And on examination we shall find, that from the time 
of Alexander's conquest of Judea, a little more than 300 
years before the Christian era, both Greeks and Romans 
became more rational and correct in their theological 
opinions; and the sect of Eclectic philosophers, which 
had risen some time before, and whose object was to 
select from all the other sects, and from every attainable 
source, whatever was most consistent with reason and 
truth, were not a little indebted to the progress which 
the light of God, dispensed by means of the Septu- 
agint, had made in the heathen world. 

To this version, Christianity, under God, owes much. 
To it we are indebted for such a knowledge of the He- 
brew originals of the Old Testament, as we never could 
have had without it, the pure Hebrew having ceased to 
be vernacular after the Babylonish eaptivity ; and Jesus 
Christ and his apostles have stamped an infinite value 
on this version by the general use they have made of it 
in the New Testament; perhaps never once quoting 
directly the Hebrew Text, or using any other version 
than some copy of the Septuagint. Though prophecy 
had ceased from the time of Ezra, Daniel, and Malachi, 
yet by this version the Law and the Prophets were con- 
tinued down to the time of Christ; and this was. the 
grand medium by which this conveyance was made. 
Nor is its usefulness deteriorated by the lapse of time ; 
it continues still a witness of the truth of Divine Reve- 
lation, and a sovereign help to the proper understanding 
of the Old Covenant ; and I hesitate not again to assert, 
that no man can ever gain a thorough knowledge of 
the phraseology of the New Covenant writers, who is 
unacquainted with this version, or has not profited by 
such writers as derived their knowledge from it. If the 
present race of divines neglect it, it is to their shame 
and to their loss. 


V There remains only one question of importance, 
which, in a general consideration of this subject, requires 
particular notice. Is that Revelation, constituting what 
is called The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Tes- 
taments, entire ? Have no parts been lost — no spurious 
writings been added ? 

These questions have been already discussed in part, 
in the preceding observations. All that is necessary to 
be added is, that the oldest records among the Jews and 
Christians mention the books, both by number and name, 
which constitute the Old Testament Scriptures; and 
these are the identical books, both in number and name* 
that remain in the Hebrew canon to the present day. 
Not one has been added ; not one has been taken away. 
Nor have we the slightest evidence that even one chapter 
or paragraph in any one of the books come down to us, 
has been either added or omitted. And it is the same 
with the New Testament ; we have not lost nor received 
a single book or chapter which the genuine church of 
God has ever accounted divinely inspired and canonical. 
I have diligently examined this question in all the ac- 
counts we have from antiquity, and in all the collec- 
tions of Hebrew and Greek MSS., both of the Old and 
New Testaments, and their various readings, which the 
ablest critics have produced to public view ; and some 
of the chief of those MSS. I have collated myself, and 
most, if not all, of the ancient versions ; and I can con- 
scientiously say that we have the sacred oracles, at least 
in essential sum and substance, as they were delivered 
by God to Moses and the prophets ; and to the church 
of Christ by Jesus, his evangelists and apostles ; and 
that nothing in the various readings of the Hebrew and 
Greek MSS. can be found to strengthen any error in 
doctrine, or obliquity in moral practice. All is safe and 
sound, — all pure and holy ; it is the perfect law of the 
Lord, that converts the soul ; the testimony of the Lord, 

416 DIVINE revelation; 

that abideth for ever ; and the unadulterated gospel of 
Jesus Cnrist, which is able to make men wise unto sal- 
vation, through faith in him. 

Let the reader be pleased to consider that this is the 
testimony of one who has examined this subject from 
the beginning to the end, — from the remotest antiquity 
to the present times ; who has collated versions and con- 
sulted manuscripts not a few ; and has done all this to 
know the truth, and to receive nothing but the truth, 
and to recommend nothing as truth in religion but what 
has come from the God of truth, and leads only to the 
perfect illumination of the human understanding, the 
present and eternal glory of God, and the present happi- 
ness and final salvation of a lost world. And may I not 
ask, is not such a testimony infinitely superior to the 
rash and bold assumptions of such men as are slaves to 
their passions, who feel, from the unholiness of their own 
hearts and irregularity of their lives, that it is their in- 
terest to find that called the word of God to be false or 
spurious, because they have too much reason to dread 
the perdition of ungodly men, of which the Scriptures 
so amply treat ? I might add, too, the superiority of such 
a testimony to that of those bold and presumptuous men 
who have never examined the question, and were as in- 
capable of examining the streams which have proceeded 
from the fountain, as they were of tracing those streams 
to the fountain itself ! Of what worth is the testimony 
of such men against the testimony of God, and of the 
whole church of Christ, through all ages ; and of the 
best, wisest, and most learned men that ever existed? 
Well may it be said here, and said with triumph, What 
is the chaff to the wheat, saith the Lord ? 

Controversies there have been about certain words 
found in some MSS. and not in others, though nearly of 
the same meaning ; and in the Old Testament, two geo- 
graphical verses, Josh. xxi. 35, 36, which have been 


proscribed by the Masora, and left out of some editions 
of the Hebrew text, but are found in the most authentic 
MSS. ; and one verse in the New Testament, 1 John v. 
7, which is omitted in the Greek MSS., but is found 
in the Vulgate and the modern versions. The geography 
of Josh. xxi. 35, 36, is found 1 Chron. vi. 78, 79 ; and 
the doctrine of 1 John v. 7 5 is found John i. 1, 14 ; and 
in various places, unequivocally, in the New Testament.* 

VI. Having considered at large the apostle's assertion, 
" Whatsoever was written of old, was written for our 
learning;" it will be necessary to point out the grand 
benefit which each individual may derive from the ora- 
cles of God, viz., " That we, through patience and com- 
fort of the Scripture, may have hope." The hope referred 
to here relates to the immortality of the soul, and the 
state of glory in endless happiness. 

Independently of the Holy Scriptures, scarcely any- 
thing was known by the ancient heathens of the nature 
and immortality of the soul, of the resurrection of the 
body, or of the final beatitude of both in the realms of 
eternal blessedness. For here, also, " the world by its 
wisdom knew not God ;" and it is by his Law that we 
have the proper knowledge of sin ; and it is by the Gos- 
pel that life and immortality have been brought to light. 
The heathens in general lived like swine, and died like 
dogs. " They were without hope, and without God in 

* As to the authenticity of this one solitary verse, much has been 
said for and against it, and the controversy relative to it is not yet 
terminated. The doctrine contained in it is that of the apostle, 
whether he wrote the precise words of the seventh verse or not. 
And even the distinction of the persons in the Godhead is suffi- 
ciently intimated in Matt. iii. 16, 17. — 1. Jesus is baptized in Jor- 
dan. 2. The Holy Ghost descends upon him. 3. The Father 
from heaven proclaims him as his beloved Son. 


the world." The grave was to them the house of ter- 
rors; and they had no hope of immortality beyond it. 
They sometimes dreamed of happiness, but had none : 
they strove to gain it, but it was a fruitless toil : in the 
pursuit they had no comfort, for they had no infallible 
director; and they had various ills to bear which they 
had not patience to endure, because they had no com- 
forter. Hence it was a virtue with them to destroy their 
own lives when ills became insufferable. Divine Reve- 
lation opened the kingdom of heaven to all them that 
believed ; and the Holy Spirit, promised in that Revela- 
tion, sustained genuine believers in all their trials, and 
shed abroad the love of God in their hearts. Jesus 
Christ incarnated, and dying for the offences of men, and 
rising again for their justification, blotting out their ini- 
quity by his blood, and sanctifying the soul by his Spirit, 
gave them an assurance of the glory that was to be re- 
vealed, and a preparation for that glorious state. Though 
in the world they had tribulation, yet in him they had 
peace. The exceeding great and precious promises of 
the Scripture not only cheered their hope, but enlivened 
and supported their souls ; for they pleaded them by faith, 
and God fulfilled them to as many as believed. They 
went on from strength to strength, fearing God, and 
worthily magnifying his name : they loved him, whom, 
though they did not see, yet they powerfully felt ; were 
patient in bearing ill and doing well ; and while they 
loved him, found, in the economy of the grace of God, 
that all things worked together for their good. They 
gloried in tribulation, and rejoiced in the hope of the 
glory of God. Thus, " through patience and comfort of 
the Scripture they had hope." They found that all pro- 
phecies and promises were so made, that the predicted 
blessings and events became to them prime objects of at- 
tention, memory, and desire, till they did come; and 
then of gratitude, for the permanent blessings they com- 


municated. The more they were blessed, the more their 
gratitude rose ; and the higher it rose, the more abun- 
dant was their obedience. This has ever been the state 
and experience of true believers ; and this is still the in- 
heritance of all the children of God. Sinners alone, and 
those who will not accept of Christ crucified, sit in dark- 
ness, and dwell in the valley of the shadow of death : 
while true believers walk as children of the light and of 
the day, in whom there is no occasion of stumbling : 
they love God, and work righteousness : they love their 
neighbour as themselves, and labour to promote his 
utmost welfare ; and they feel this love to be the ful- 
filling of the law. This power they have from the grace 
of Christ. This was primitive Christianity : this is 
modern Christianity, wherever there is faith unfeigned : 
and this must be Christianity while the sun and the 
moon endure; for the gospel is the everlasting gospel, 
and Jesus Christ, its author, is " the same yesterday, to- 
day, and for ever." Hallelujah ! the Lord God Omni- 
potent reigneth ! Amen. 

I cannot conclude this discourse without citing that 
fine collect or prayer in the Liturgy of the Church of 
England, in the service for the second Sunday in Advent, 
where the epistle of the day includes the text of this 
discourse ; a prayer to which no Christian of any com- 
munity would make a single objection. 

" Blessed Lord, who has caused all holy Scriptures to 
be written for our learning, grant that we may in. such 
wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest 
them ; that by patience and comfort of thy holy word, 
we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of 
everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour 
Jesus Christ. Amen." 

As in this prayer we see how we should receive these 
Holy Scriptures in order that they may be profitable to 

420 divine revelation; 

us, I shall make a few remarks on the chief points in 
this incomparable production, which may serve as an ap- 
plication of the whole discourse. 

1. We must ever consider these Scriptures as coming 
from God, as divinely inspired, and as containing his in 
fallible truth. 

2. We should consider, that it is by his grace and 
blessing that even his own word becomes useful to us, 
for it is his grace alone that takes away the veil of dark- 
ness and ignorance from the mind, without which the 
pure word of life cannot enter into our hearts, or become 
the power of God to our salvation. 

3. We should be thankful to him that we have his 
word written and printed, and that we can consult it in 
our family and in our closets. We should bless God, 
that it is not shut up in a corner, as it once was in these 
dominions ; and that we are not liable to persecution 
and death, for either reading it or hearing it read, or 
having it in our house ; as our fathers were, while under 
the domination of the heretical and apostate church of 

4. We must hear these Holy Scriptures read, ex- 
pounded, and applied in the public worship of God, by 
a Christian ministry. To social and public worship many 
promises are made ; nor can we expect that we shall re- 
ceive God's blessing if we neglect God's ordinances. 

5. We must read them ; not be satisfied that we have 
the Holy Scriptures in the house ; we must consult 
them, and hide this word in our heart, that we sin not 
against its author. God's statutes should be our songs, 
our comforters, in the house of our pilgrimage. 

6. We should mark what we read, that we may profit 
by it. We should especially mark such passages as con- 
tain promises or threatenings suited to our state, and 
bring them home to our heart and conscience ; else we 


may read often and long, and never come to the know- 
ledge of the truth. 

7- We should learn from what we have read and 
marked, 1. What sort of persons we have been — horn in 
sin, and children of wrath. 2. What sort of persons we 
now are — sinners, penitents, believers, backsliders, cold- 
hearted, zealous, lukewarm, or what else, as the Scrip- 
ture, conscientiously applied, will teach us. 3. What 
sort of persons we must be before we can be happy, and 
before we can enter into the kingdom of God. 

8. We must inwardly digest it — carefully ponder it 
in our heart — consider well its nature — that we must not 
rest in its promises, as if it were enough that they are in 
our Bibles, for they are but the signs of things ; and it is 
the things, not the signs, that we must feed on. The 
word bread cannot save a hungry man from perishing ; 
but the thing signified by that word will save the hun- 
gry man's life. We must take heed that the words o 
God are to our souls as earthly bread is to our bodies. 
We must eat and digest our earthly bread before it can 
prove nutriment to our bodies ; and when this is done, it 
is transformed into our very substance, so that we derive 
strength and life from it. In like manner, we should re- 
ceive the words of God, and by meditation, faith, and 
prayer, have them ingrafted in us, that the grace and in- 
fluence promised may be received, and enter into our 
spiritual being, so that we shall grow thereby, and feel 
that our souls have as truly received power and life by 
means of ihe Holy Scriptures, as our bodies receive 
strength and life by the bread that perisheth. 

9. We must so profit by this hearing, reading, mark- 
ing, learning, and inwardly digesting these holy words, 
that we shall acquire patience to enable us to bear per- 
secutions, afflictions, or the ills of life ; that we shall even 
enjoy comfort while passing through them, by receiving 

422 divine revelation; 

a brighter evidence of our title to everlasting life ; and 
thus be enabled to pass through things temporal, so as 
not to lose those that are eternal. 

10. We must never forget that these Scriptures are 
the gift of God, and that the blessed hope of everlasting 
life is given to us in and by Jesus Christ our Lord ; that 
we have no merit ; that we deserve no good ; that our 
pardon, holiness, and final salvation come all through his 
infinitely meritorious sacrificial death ; that through him 
alone we come unto the Father, and that there is no 
other name given under heaven to men, whereby we can 
be saved. 

Taking all these things into our deepest consideration, 
we may in all our reading and hearing these Holy Scrip- 
tures, express ourselves in the following appropriate 
words, and thus conclude all such religious exercises 
with prayer and praise. 


Inspirer of the ancient seers, 

Who wrote from thee the sacred page ; 

The same in all succeeding years ; 
To us in our degenerate age, 

The spirit of thy word impart, 

And breathe the life into our heart ! 


While now thine oracles we read, 

With earnest prayer and strong desire, 

O let thy Spirit from thee proceed, 
Our souls t' awaken and inspire ; 

Our weakness help, our darkness chase, 

And guide us by the light of grace ! 

Whene'er in error's paths we rove, 

The living God, through sin, forsake ; 
Our conscience by thy word reprove ; 

Convince, and bring the wanderers back ; 


Deep wounded by thy Spirit's sword, 
And then by Gilead's balm restored. 


The sacred lessons of thy grace, 

Transmitted through thy word, repeat ; 
And train us up in all thy ways, 

To make us in thy will complete ; 
Fulfil thy love's redeeming plan, 
And bring us to a perfect man ! 


Furnished out of thy treasury, 

O may we always ready stan , 
To help the souls redeemed by thee, 

In what their various states demand ; 
To teach, convince, correct, reprove, 
And build them up in holiest love ! 


To several it may appear, that I should make an apo- 
logy for attempting to treat so vast a subject in the com- 
pass of a sermon of but ordinary length. I feel this, 
and do not hesitate to make the apology. But still, some 
general principles relative to the divine authenticity of 
the sacred writings should be put into the hands of the 
common people, that they may be fortified against 
both the sly and scurrilous attacks now so frequently 
made against that book from which, under God, they 
derive their present comfort, and their hope of future 
bliss. That book which is the means of lightening the 
burdens of life, which affords them songs in the house 
of their pilgrimage, and which they see to be the grand 



instrument used by the mercy of God to exalt the human 
character, by pointing out the infallible cure for that 
deadly moral malady which has seized upon the whole 
family of man. It is this word of truth, applied by that 
Spirit of God so abundantly promised in it, which can 
lead them to the true fountain of health and blessedness, 
from which alone they can derive those influences that 
change the heart and the whole frame of life, producing 
glory to God in the highest, and diffusing peace and 
good will among men. In that little-known, much- 
neglected, and utmost northern possession of the far^- 
extended government of the British crown, Zetland, 
where the preceding discourse was first preached in that 
form in which it now appears, infidelity has dared to 
make its approaches, though, thank God, with little 
success ! Those islanders, at once curious and intelli- 
gent, saw that an attempt of this kind, to vindicate the 
ways of God to man, would be no discredit to their 
country ; and rejoiced to observe, from arguments and 
observations not in common use, that they had additional 
proofs that the foundation of their faith stood firm, and 
that they could never be ashamed to speak with their 
enemies in the gate ; and on this account they wished 
to see the great outline at least in a permanent form. 
Cheerfully have I met that wish, though conscious of 
imperfections in every part, principally owing to the 
narrowness of the limits by which I was circumscribed. 
It will be at once seen that I do not detail the arguments 
of others, nor any indeed that are in common use. I 
had no authorities then at hand, and I have consulted 
none since ; as far as I know, the manner in which the 
preceding observations are made, is new ; nor am I aware 
that the same materials have ever been thus applied. 
May that God, whose revelation to man this discourse 


endeavours to illustrate and defend, give his blessing 
to this well-meant attempt, so that every one that reads 
may be induced to give glory to him for his unspeakable 

Lerwick, Zetland, 
July 2, 1826. 

* The sermon to which this "postscript" is appended, was 
published in a separate form, and entitled, " God's Mercy in giving 
a Revelation of his Will to Man, and his Providence in Preserv- 
ing that Revelation from Corruption and Decay, manifested in a 
Discourse on Rom. xv. 4. Delivered in Lerwick, Zetland, July 2, 
1826. By Adam Clarke, LL. D., F. A.S., Member of the Royal 
Irish Academy, of the Geological Society of London, and of the 
Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, &c, &c, &cc. 
London : Joseph Butterworth and Son. 1827." It was preceded 
by a dedication, as follows : " To the gentry and inhabitants in 
general, of the town of Lerwick, this discourse, delivered before 
them, July 2, 1826, and published at their request, is dedicated, 
as a small but sincere token of grateful respect, in return for that 
urbanity and kindness with which they treated a stranger during 
his short residence in their interesting country, 

" By their firm and affectionate friend, 

" Adam Clarke." 

The postscript in the first edition was dated " Haydon Hall, 
Middlesex, 1827 ;" and the sermon itself was pretty liberally cir- 
culated by its benevolent author, in the way of gratuitous distribu- 
tion. The writer of this note shared in his favours. — Editok. 



John iii. 16. 

Ovtu) yap tjycnrrjffEV 6 Qsog tov Kotjfiov, wore tov viov avrov 
tov fiovoyEvr) eSojksv, iva wag 6 7ri(rrevu)v eig avrov, fir) aTroXtj- 
rai, a\X' t\y Z,iiir\v anaviov™ 

" For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten 
Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have 
everlasting life." 


These words form a part of that most interesting and 
important conversation which our Lord held with a 
Jewish ruler, called Nicodemus, who came to him by 
night, in order to get information on a subject of the 
utmost consequence to the peace and salvation of his 
soul. The subject was one generally acknowledged in 
the Jewish creed ; but by most it was grievously per- 
verted or misunderstood. It was, in its spirit, no less 
than this : Of what nature is that change which must 
pass upon the heart of man, in order to fit him for the 
kingdom of heaven ; and by what means can that change 
be effected? That this was the object of this rulers 
inquiry is evident from our Lord's answer ; for when he 

* I place the original here, because it is frequently referred to in 
the discourse. 


had addressed him with " Rahbi, we know that thou art 
a teacher come from God (which he founded on the 
evidence of his miraculous works), for no man can do 
these miracles which thou doest, except God be with 
him ; Jesus answered and said, Verily, verily, I say unto 
thee, except a man be born again (or from above), he 
cannot see the kingdom of God." 

Nicodemus, astonished that this most important busi- 
ness should be put on such an issue, and not clearly 
understanding the figure used by our Lord, cries out, 
" How can a man be born when he is old ? can he enter 
the second time into his mother s womb, and be born V 

Our Lord, now finding that his attention was deeply 
fixed, and all the feelings of his self-interest strongly 
excited, enters into an explanation of the figure he 
had used; and, referring to the Jewish mode of ad- 
mitting proselytes into the Jewish church by baptism, 
shows, that as the change is of a spiritual nature, it 
must be accomplished by a spiritual agent ; and to accom- 
plish such a change, the washing the body with water 
should be used only as a means, and considered as a 
type ; and to illustrate his own meaning adds, " Except 
a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot 
enter the kingdom of God ;" urging at the same time, 
the utter insufficiency of means, if separated from the 
end ; for " that which is born of the flesh is flesh ; and 
that which is born of the Spirit is spirit ;" as if he had 
said, Earthly or human agency can produce no other 
than earthly or human results ; they can neither effect, 
nor be substitutes for, moral and spiritual changes ; as 
they begin with the flesh, so they must terminate there ; 
and nothing less than a celestial energy can produce 
such a spiritual and moral change in the soul, as shall be 
sufficient to qualify it for the enjoyment of the kingdom 
of God. 



Finding the astonishment of Nicodemus to increase, as 
he Was totally ignorant both of the spiritual agent who 
was to accomplish the change, and of the manner in 
which it must be performed; he farther illustrates his 
meaning, and the nature of the work, by a most appro- 
priate simile drawn from the wind, and the effects which 
it produces : " Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye 
must be born again : the wind bloweth where it listeth, 
and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not 
tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth : so is every 
one that is born of the Spirit." As if he had said, 
Though the manner in which this new birth is effected 
by the Divine Spirit be incomprehensible to thee, thou 
must not on this ground suppose it to be impossible ; the 
wind bloweth in a variety of directions ; thou hearest its 
sound, perceivest its operation by the motion of the trees, 
&c, and feelest it on thy own body ; but thou canst not 
discern the air itself; thou only knowest that it exists, 
by the effects which it produces : so is every one that is 
born of the Spirit — the effects are as discernible and as 
sensible as those of the wind ; but itself thou canst not 

As the Jewish teacher was still slow of heart to un- 
derstand, supposing, with the rest of his countrymen, 
that salvation was to be procured by an exact observance 
of rites, commands, and ordinances ; spiritual agents and 
spiritual ehanges being entirely out of the question ; our 
Lord deservedly chides him, who, while he professed to 
be " a guide of the blind, a light of them that are in 
darkness, and an instructor of babes," should be ignorant 
of a doctrine so essentially necessary to his own salva- 
tion and that of others ; and then takes occasion to enter 
at large into the subject, and to show that his salvation, 
and that of a whole lost world, must be effected^ not by 
circumcision, washing, or sacrificial rites, but by the pure 


mercy of God ; and that the person whom he considered 
in no other light than that of a teacher come from God, 
was the Son of man, the promised Messiah, God's only- 
begotten Son, whom, in his infinite love to perishing man, 
he had now sent into the world to become an expiatory 
victim for the sin of the world ; that they who believe in 
him should receive remission of sins, and that spiritual 
change which would not only prevent them from perish- 
ing, but entitle them to eternal life. 

Having thus introduced the passage before us, we may 
collect from it the following particulars : — 

I. The world, the whole human race, was in a ruin- 
ous condemned state, in danger of perishing everlastingly, 
and without power to rescue itself from the impending 

II. God, through the impulse of his own infinite love 
and innate goodness, provided for its rescue and salva- 
tion, by giving his only-begotten Son to die for it. 

III. From this it appears, that the sacrifice of Jesus 
was the only means by which the redemption of man 
could be effected, and that it is absolutely sufficient to 
accomplish this gracious design ; for it would have been 
inconsistent with the wisdom of God to have appointed 
a sacrifice greater in itself, or less in its merit, than the 
positive necessities of the case required. 

IV That sin must be an inconceivable evil, and pos- 
sess an indescribable malignity, when it required no le,ss 
a sacrifice to make atonement for it, than that offered by 
God manifested in the flesh. 

V We learn that no man is saved through this sacri- 
fice, but he who believes ; i. e., who credits what God has 
spoken concerning Christ, his sacrifice, the end for which 
it was offered, and the way in which it is to be applied, 
in order to its becoming effectual. 

t 2 



VI. That those who believe receive a double benefit ; 
viz.,* 1. They are exempted from eternal perdition — 
" That they should not perish." 2. They are brought to 
eternal glory — " That they should have everlasting life." 
And this double benefit proves, 1. That man is guilty, 
and therefore exposed to punishment. 2. That he is 
impure, and therefore unfit for glory. 

I. The words of the text plainly imply, that what our 
Lord terms the world here, was in danger of everlasting 
perdition. But to understand his meaning fully, it will 
be necessary to examine the import of the word. 

The term world, b Koapog, has several acceptations in 
Scripture, which are however reducible to one , grand 
ideal meaning : 1. It signifies the whole mundane fabric, 
or system of our universe ; the visible heavens and earth ; 
the whole solar or planetary system. And as the origi- 
nal term signifies to adorn, ornament, or beautifully 
arrange anything, it was with great propriety applied to 
the heavens and all their host, and the earth and its ful- 
ness, to express, in some measure, the beautiful order, 
harmony, splendour, and perfection of the whole, as a 
work highly worthy of that infinite wisdom which had 
planned it, of the power by which the plan was exe- 
cuted, and of the goodness which proposed, by this 
creation, the most beneficent ends. 

It was worthy of remark that the splendid ornament- 
ing and plaiting of the hair, and the decoration of their 
persons with gold and splendid apparel, to which the 
women of higher rank, both among the Greeks and 
Romans, were extravagantly attached, is termed by St. 
Peter, 1 Epist. iii. 3, Koapoq, the same word as in the 
text, which literally means world, but very properly in 
this place rendered by our translators, adorning: " Whose 
adorning (icoo/tog), let it not be that outward adorning of 


plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting 
on of apparel." The ancient statues, where the Roman 
and Grecian head-dress is represented with the almost 
endless variety and involutions of plaiting, &c., fully 
justify the application of the term in the place just 
quoted ; and may at once lead the mind to the original 
application of the word, when used to express that in- 
finitely complex and harmoniously arranged system of 
the universe, which when completed and surveyed by 
the eye of infinite wisdom, was found such as to merit 
the approbation of the all-perfect Creator. " And God 
saw everything that he had made, and behold it was 
very good;" Gen. i. 31. 

It is scarcely necessary to observe, that the greatest 
men since the foundation of the earth have acknow- 
ledged themselves instructed, delighted, astonished, and 
lost, in contemplating the skill and economy of the great 
Creator, in the order, variety, harmony, and perfection 
of the visible creation. 

2. Sometimes the word is restrained in its meaning, 
and is used to express merely the habitable globe, or that 
part which was immersed in the waters of the deluge, 
2 Pet. iii. 6, as this is that part of the universe in which 
human beings are more particularly interested. 

3. As in this creation God has provided an abundant 
supply for the wants of all creatures, which he deals 
out in the course of his providence in the most beautiful 
and impressive order, not only by the vicissitude of the 
seasons, but also by that endless variety of properties in 
the vegetable world, by which all its productions are 
adapted to the necessities and state of animal nature, 
and come to their perfection at different times, so as to 
afford the means of nourishment in continual and regular 
succession; therefore the term is used, not only to ex- 
press a sufficiency of earthly goods or worldly possessions 


(Matt. xvi. 26), but also abundance or vast profusion j 
and this is the meaning of the word in that remarkable 
passage of James, iii. 6, " The tongue is, 6 Kocftog Trig 
adimag, a vast system, a profusion or abundance of iniquity;" 
and, from the same ideal meaning, it carries with it 
sometimes the notion of a promiscuous crowd or multi- 
tude, as in John xii. 19 : " The Pharisees said, Perceive 
ye how ye prevail nothing ? Behold the world (6 Koffpog, 
a vast crowd) is gone after him." This particular mean- 
ing of the original is preserved in the French phrase 
tout le monde, " all the world," for all or the majority of 
the people in that place. 

4. As God seemed, for nearly two thousand years, to 
have concentrated his regards among the Jewish people, 
and to have taken into his especial care the land of 
Canaan, as if he had no other people and no other 
country to care for ; hence the term became applied to 
that land which God promised to Abraham, Rom. iv. 13: 
" For the promise that he should be the heir tov Koofiov, 
of the world;" i. e., the promise that he and his poste- 
rity should inherit the land of Canaan ; which was given 
them by God's free bounty, and not as any reward for 
legal observances or moral obedience. 

5. By an easy transition, it became applied to those 
who inhabited that land, namely, the Jews ; who seemed 
for so long a time to be God's only people — his whole 
world. In this sense it is frequently used by St. John 
in this Gospel ; see chap. xiv. 30, where Satan seems to 
be intended as the "prince (or ruler) of this world" 
i. e., of the Jews ; their wickedness being at that time 
so great and desperate. See also chap. i. 10, vii. 7 5 xii. 
19, xv. 18, 19, xvi. 33, where the Jews, or inhabitants 
of the promised land, then called Judaea, seem to be 
particularly meant. 

6. When we consider the beautiful order of the taber- 


nacle and temple service, and the whole of the Jewish 
ritual, as appointed by God ; which, although it was not 
the substance, was a well-defined and very expressive 
" shadow of good things to come ;" which the Jews, 
abusing from its proper signification, vainly trusted in 
for salvation ; we need not wonder that the term Koopoq, 
" world," was applied to it in its original meaning ; as in 
Gal. iv. 3, troixeia tov Koafiov, " the elements of the 
world ;" the types, shadows, and ceremonies of the Jew- 
ish religion; which Kovfiog, "world," the apostle says, 
chap. vi. 14, was crucified to him, and he to it, as he no 
longer expected salvation by the deeds of the law, or the 
observance of its rites and ceremonies, but by faith in 
Christ, who was "the end^of the law for justification to 
all that believed," Rom. x. 4. The same term is used 
in the same sense, Col. ii. 8, 20. 

7. It means the Gentiles, or nations of the earth, 'as 
distinguished from the Jews, they being the great multi- 
tude or mass of men called by our Lord, Luke xii. 30, 
to. iBvi) tov KotTfiov, " the nations of the world." And in 
this sense St. Paul uses the word, Rom. xi. 11, 12 : 
" Have they (the Jews) stumbled that they should fall ? 
God forbid : but rather through their fall salvation is 
come unto the Gentiles. Now if the fall of them be the 
riches of the world, irXovrog icoo-fiov, and the diminishing 
of them be the riches of the Gentiles ; how much more 
their fulness?" In which quotation, "the riches of the 
world," in the first clause of ver. 12, is explained by 
" the riches of the Gentiles," in the latter clause of the 
same verse. And the KaraXKayri koghov, " the reconciling 
of the world," ver. 15, manifestly implies the opening 
the door of salvation to the Gentiles, that they might be 
reconciled to God, and made heirs with the believing 
Jews, according to the hope of an endless life. It seems 
to be used in the same sense, 1 Cor. i, 20, 21 : " Where 


is fye disputer of this world? Hath not God made 
foolish the wisdom of this world ? For after that, in the 
wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, 
it pleased God, by the foolishness of preaching, to save 
them that believe ;" i. e., the Gentiles, with all their 
boasted wisdom and philosophy, could not attain to any 
correct notions even of the great First Cause of all things; 
as their writings, yet on record, abundantly confirm. 

8. In 1 Cor. xi. 32, it seems to signify all the disobe- 
dient and unbelieving, both of Jews and Gentiles, who 
finally reject the counsel of God against themselves: 
" We are chastened — that we should not be condemned 
with the world :" though here, perhaps, the approaching 
desolation of the Jews may be principally intended. 

9. Lastly, as the word is applied, in its primitive and 
original meaning, to the whole system of Nature, and 
particularly to the earth and its fulness; by a very easy 
metonymy, the container being put for the contained, it 
means all the inhabitants of the earth — all nations, 
classes, and kindreds of mankind; the whole human 
race : this is its meaning in the text, and in the verse 
immediately following : " God so loved rov Koapov, the 
world (the whole human race), that he gave his only- 
begotten Son," &c. " For God sent not his Son into the 
world to condemn the world ; but that the world, through 
him, might be saved," And again, chap. vi. 33 : " The 
bread of God is he who cometh down from heaven, and 
giveth life unto the world ;" i. e., as God has made a 
plentiful provision, by the manna from heaven, for all 
the Israelites in the wilderness, and by the productions 
of the earth, for the nourishment and support of all 
human beings ; so, by the incarnation and death of his 
Son Jesus Christ, he has made a full, perfect, and suffi- 
cient atonement, sacrifice, and oblation for the sins of 
the whole world, and for the salvation of all men ; see 


also chap. xiv. 31, and xvii. 24. The same apostle uses 
the term in the same sense, 1 John ii. 2 : " He is the 
propitiation {'iXcce/iog, the atoning sacrifice) for our sins," 
i. e., apostles and believing Jews; "and not for ours 
only, but also irepi 6\ov tqv Koofiov, for the whole of the 
world," i. e., Gentiles as well as Jews — all the descend- 
ants of Adam. Where, let it be observed, the apostle 
does not say that he died for any select part of the inha- 
bitants of the earth, or for some out of every nation, 
tribe, and kindred, but for all mankind ; and the attempt 
to limit the meaning of the expression here, or that in 
the text, is a violent outrage against the plain gram- 
matical meaning of God's word, and the infinite bene- 
volence of his nature. In short, the assertion in the 
text is the same, in spirit and design, with this most 
solemn declaration : " Say unto them, As I live, saith 
the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the 
wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and 
live," Ezek. xxxiii. 11. And with the following: "This 
is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, 
who will have all men to be saved, and come unto the 
knowledge of the truth," 1 Tim. ii. 3, 4. And, " He is 
the Saviour of all men, specially of those who believe," 
1 Tim. iv. 10 ; for " he gave his life a ransom for all," 
1 Tim. ii. 6 ; and therefore he is the one or only Media- 
tor between God and man, ver. 5 ; the two grand parties 
in this business, the Offended and the offenders, the 
Judge and the criminals. 

These are the plain and forcible declarations of Scrip- 
ture; and we shall, on a further examination of this 
subject, have the most satisfactory evidence that the 
streams are precisely of the same nature with the Foun- 
tain which produced them ; or, in other terms, that the 
nature of God proclaims the same sentiment which is 
expressed by the letter of his word. 

t 3 


It will no doubt be observed that, in all the accepta- 
tions of the term world, which I have collected and ex- 
amined in the preceding quotations, I have not produced 
that for which so many good people have contended, 
viz., the elect world; meaning, according to those who 
use this term, " a certain number of persons chosen in 
Christ to eternal life, out of all the nations of the earth ; 
all others being passed by, reprobated, or left to perish 
in their sins, without atonement or Saviour." I must 
confess, I have not produced this meaning because I did 
not find it ; and after all my most careful researches, it 
appears to me that neither the term nor the thing is 
found in the oracles of God ; and it has ever been a 
matter of astonishment to me that any soul of man, par- 
taking at all of the divine nature, or knowing anything 
of the ineffable love and goodness of God, should have 
ever indulged the sentiment ; or have laboured to prove 
that the God whose name is Mercy, and whose nature is 
love, and "who hateth nothing that he hath made," 
should, notwithstanding, have a sovereign, irrespective, 
eternal love to a few of the fallen human race ; together 
with a sovereign, irrevocable, and eternal hatred to the 
great mass of mankind ; according to which the salvation 
of the former, and the perdition of the latter, have been 
from all eternity absolutely and irrevocably fixed, pre- 
ordained, and decreed ! 

I have met with these sentiments. I have seen and 
heard them maintained with great acrimony. I have 
seen them sometimes opposed in the same spirit. I 
looked on it, received instruction, was grieved, and 
passed on, with — 

Tantaene animis caelestibus irae 1 

In heavenly minds can such fierce passions dwell ! 

That the whole human race needed this interposition 


of God's infinite love ; is evident ; for the Scriptures have 
unequivocally declared that all have sinned; all have 
corrupted their way ; they are all gone astray, and alto- 
gether become abominable; they are fallen from the 
image of God, righteousness and true holiness ; and are 
inwardly corrupt, and outwardly defiled. This doctrine 
stands in no need of proof; man is not what God made 
him ; were the Scriptures silent on the subject, all reason 
and common sense would at once declare that it is im- 
possible that the infinitely perfect God could make a 
morally imperfect, much less a corrupt and sinful being. 
Yet God is the Maker of man ; and he tells us that he 
made him in his own image, and in his own likeness ; it 
follows, then, that man has fallen from that state of 
holiness and perfection in which he was created. And 
that this fall took place in the head and root of human 
nature, before any of the generations of men were pro- 
pagated on the earth, is evident, not only from the 
declaration of God himself in his word, but also from 
this strong and commanding fact, that there never was 
yet discovered a nation or tribe of holy or righteous men 
in any part of the world ; nor is there a record that any 
such nation or people was ever known ! This is a truly 
surprising circumstance ; and a most absolute proof that 
not only all mankind are now fallen and sinful, but have 
ever been in the same state ; and that this fall must have 
taken place, previously to the propagation of mankind ; 
for had it not taken place in our first parents, before 
they began to propagate and people the earth, the heads 
of families and their successors, who might have been 
born previously to such fall, could not have partaken of 
their contagion ; and, consequently, must have been the 
progenitors of nations doing righteousness, loving God 
with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and their 
neighbour as themselves. But no such nation exists; 


no such nation ever did exist. Thus we find that uni- 
versal*experience and knowledge agree with and confirm 
the account given in the Book of Genesis of the fall of 
man. The root being corrupted, the fruit also must be 
corrupt ; the fountain being poisoned, the streams must 
be impure. All men coming into the world in the way 
of natural generation, must be precisely the same with 
him from whom they derive their being: — the body, 
soul, and spirit of all the descendants of Adam must 
partake of his moral imperfections ; for it is an inflexible 
and invariable law in nature, that " like shall produce its 
like." We, therefore, seeing this total corruption of 
human nature, no longer hope to gather grapes from 
thorns, or figs from thistles. 

Experience not only confirms the great but tremendous 
truth, that all mankind are fallen from the image of 
God ; but it shows us that man has naturally a propen- 
sity to do evil, and none to do good; yea, to do evil, 
when it is demonstrably to his own hurt ; — that the great 
principles of self-love and self-interest weigh nothing 
against the sinful propensities of his mind ; that he is 
continually and confessedly running to his own ruin ; 
and has, of himself, no power or influence by which he 
can correct, restrain, or destroy the viciousness of his 
own nature. In short, that he lieth in the wicked one, 
with an unavailing wish, yet without any efficient power, 
to rise. Understanding, judgment, and reason, those so 
much boasted, strong, and commanding powers of the 
soul, which should regulate all the inferior faculties, are 
themselves so fallen, enfeebled, darkened, and corrupted, 
as to spiritual good, that they see not how to command, 
and feel not how to perform. There is, therefore, no hope 
that the man can raise himself from his fall, and replace 
himself in a state of moral rectitude; for the very prin- 
ciples by which he should rise are themselves equally 


fallen with all the rest. Wishing and willing are all 
that he can exercise ; but these, through want of moral 
energy, are totally inefficient. God has inspired him 
with the desire to be saved ; and this alone places him 
in a salvable state. There is, therefore, in the human 
soul no self-reviviscent power ; no innate principle which 
may develope itself, expand, and arise ; all is infirm ; 
all is wretched, diseased, and helpless. This view of the 
wretched state of mankind led one of the primitive 
fathers to consider the whole human race as one great 
diseased man, lying helpless, stretched out over the 
whole inhabited globe, from east to west, from north to 
south ; to heal whom, the omnipotent Physician de- 
scended from heaven. 

II. This leads me to consider God through the im- 
pulse of his own infinite love and innate goodness, pro- 
viding for the rescue and salvation of the world, by 
giving his only-begotten Son to die for it : " God so loved 
the world." 

It is here asserted, that the love of God was the spring 
and source of human redemption : and when we consider 
the fallen, degraded, and corrupt state of the human 
race, we may rest satisfied that there it must originate, 
or nowhere. Man could have no claim on the holiness 
or justice of his Maker, because he had swerved from 
his allegiance, and broken his law ; nor can we conceive 
that any other attribute of the Divine nature could be 
excited in his behalf. 

Yet even here is a difficulty ; and one of no ordinary 
magnitude : how could even this love be moved towards 
man ? According to the best notions we can form of 
love, it never exists but in a conviction of some real or 
fancied excellence or amiableness in its object. Excel- 
lence may be esteemed for its own sake; beauty and 


amiableness may be desired on our own account. Love, 
properly speaking, is composed of desire and esteem ; de- 
sire to possess, on account of the beauty or amiableness 
of the object, esteem for the person on account of men- 
tal excellence. On tracing the operation of this passion 
or affection carefully, we shall find that the desire to pos- 
sess is scarcely ever, if at all, excited for mere mental 
excellence ; and that esteem is scarcely ever formed for 
mere corporeal accomplishments. 

The old and the deformed may be esteemed if they 
have mental excellencies ; and the young and the beau- 
tiful may be desired though they have none. But where 
there is neither beauty nor excellence, real or imaginary, 
love is never excited. 

We may lay it down as an indisputable truth, that 
God never acts without an infinite [reason to justify his 
conduct. He must ever have a suitable motive to in- 
duce him to act, and a proper object to justify the motive. 
He can never act from caprice or partiality, because he 
acts from infinite intelligence, and can never be influenced 
by self-interest. What motive therefore could induce 
him to place his love upon man ? For what could he 
desire him ? For what would he esteem him ? Here is 
the difficulty which no kind of assertions can solve. The 
common assertion, "he did so because he would," will 
never satisfy the inquiring mind ; and may be as well 
applied to acts of vindictive justice as to acts of mere 
mercy; and thus the mind will be left under the full 
empire of doubt, relative to the conduct of God in mat- 
ters of the most solemn importance, in which its own 
accountableness and highest interests are particularly con- 
cerned, and on which it cannot be too circumstantially 

On this inquiry the infinite disparity between God and 
man will ever present itself tc the view — the perfections 


and independence of the Creator, and the worthlessness 
and wickedness of the creature. In deep astonishment 
we may ask, with one of old, " What is man, that thou 
shouldst magnify him ? and that thou shouldst set 
thine heart upon him?" — Job vii. 17- In a word, 
what is the apparent reason why God hath so loved the 
world ? 

Strange as it may appear, I am led to conclude that 
we shall not get a satisfactory answer to this question, 
without having recourse to the creation of man. I will 
lay down as an axiom, what I think will not be disputed, 
and what cannot be successfully controverted, that man 
is the creature of God's love. Let us figure to ourselves, 
for we may innocently do it, the state of the Divine 
Nature previously to the formation of the human being. 
Infinitely happy, because infinitely perfect and self- 
sufiicient, the Supreme Being could feel no wants; to 
him nothing was wanting, nothing needful. As the 
good man is satisfied from himself, from the contem- 
plation of his conscious rectitude ; so, comparing 
infinitely great with small things, the Divine Mind 
was supremely satisfied with the possession and con- 
templation of its own unlimited excellencies. From 
unmixed, unsullied goodness, sprang all the endlessly 
varied attributes, perfections, and excellencies of the 
Divine Nature ; or rather in this principle all are founded, 
and of this each is an especial modification. Benevo- 
lence is, however, an affection inseparable from good- 
ness. God, the all-sufficient, knew that he could in a 
certain way communicate influences from his own per- 
fections ; but the being must resemble himself, to which 
the communication could be made. His benevolence, 
therefore, to communicate and diffuse his own infinite 
happiness, we may naturally suppose, led him to form 
the purpose of creating intelligent beings, to whom such 


communication could be made. He therefore, in the 
exuberance of his eternal goodness, projected the crea- 
tion of man, whom he formed in his own image, that he 
might be capable of those communications. Here then 
was a motive worthy of eternal goodness — the desire to 
communicate its own blessedness ; and here was an ob- 
ject worthy of the divine wisdom and power — the making 
an intelligent creature, a transcript of his own eternity, 
nvrjNo tayo meat melokim, Ps. viii. 5, just less than God, 
and endowing him with powers and faculties of the 
most extraordinary and comprehensive nature. 

I do not found these observations on the supposition 
of certain excellencies possessed by man previously to 
his fall ; I found them on what he is now. I found them 
on his vast and comprehensive understanding; on his 
astonishing powers of ratiocination; on the extent and 
endless variety of his imagination or inventive faculty : 
and I see the proof and exercise of these in his inven- 
tion of arts and sciences. Though fallen from God, mo- 
rally degraded and depraved, he has not lost his natural 
powers : he is yet capable of the most exalted degrees of 
knowledge in all natural things ; and his knowledge is 

Let us take a cursory view of what he has done, and 
of what he is capable : he has numbered the stars of 
heaven; he has demonstrated the planetary revolu- 
tions, and the laws by which they are governed; he 
has accounted for every apparent anomaly in the various 
affections of the heavenly bodies ; he has measured their 
distances, determined their solid contents, and weighed 
the sun ! 

His researches into the three kingdoms of nature, the 
animal, vegetable, and mineral, are, for their variety, cor- 
rectness, and importance, of the highest consideration. 
The laws of matter, of organized and unorganized beings, 


and those chemical principles by which all the opera- 
tions of nature are conducted, have been investigated by 
him with the utmost success. He has shown the father 
of the rain, and who has begotten the drops of dew ; he 
has accounted for the formation of the snow, the hail- 
stones, and the ice ; and demonstrated the laws by which 
the tempest and tornado are governed ; he has taken the 
thunder from the clouds ; and he plays with the light- 
nings of heaven ! 

He has invented those grand subsidiaries of life, the 
lever, the screw, the wedge, the inclined plane, and the 
pulley ; and by these means multiplied his power beyond 
conception. He has invented the telescope, and by this 
instrument has brought the hosts of heaven almost into 
contact with the earth. By his engines he has acquired 
a sort of omnipotency over inert matter ; and produced 
effects which, to the uninstructed mind, present all the 
appearance of supernatural agency. By his mental 
energy he has sprung up into illimitable space, and has 
seen and described those worlds which an infinite skill 
has planned, and an infinite benevolence sustains. He 
has proceeded to all describable and assignable limits, 
and has conceived the most astonishing relations and 
affections of space, place, and vacuity; and yet, at 
all those limits, he has felt himself unlimited, and still 
can imagine the possibility of worlds and beings, natural 
and intellectual, in endless variety beyond the whole. 
Here is a most extraordinary power, — describe all known 
or conjectured beings, and he can imagine more ; point 
out all the good that even God has promised, and he can 
desire still greater enjoyments ! 

After having made the boldest excursions to the hea-r 
vens, he has dared even to the heavens of heavens ; and 
demonstrated the being and attributes of God, not only 
by proofs drawn from his works, but by arguments 


a priori, from which all created nature is necessarily 
excluded. These are among the boldest efforts of the 
human mind. 

What has man not done ? And of what is he not 
capable ? To such powers and energies what limits can 
be assigned ? Do not all his acts show that he is fear- 
fully and wonderfully made? And if such be the 
shadow, what was the substance ? If such be fallen 
man, what was he before his fall ? And what is the 
necessary conclusion from the whole? It is this: the 
creature in question was made for God, and nothing less 
than God can satisfy his infinite desires. His being and 
his powers give the fullest proof that the saying of the 
wise man is perfectly correct : " God created man to be 
immortal ; and made him to be an image of his own 
eternity," Wisd. ii. 23. 

" But is not this over-rating human excellence, and 
enduing man with a dignity and perfection little con- 
sistent with the doctrine of the fall V I answer — .No. 
I have appealed to facts, and facts within the knowledge 
of all men ; and such facts as amply support all the rea- 
soning which has been founded upon them. But after 
all these proofs of natural excellence, we have ten thou- 
sand others of his internal moral depravity, and aliena- 
tion from the divine life. The general tenor of his moral 
conduct is an infraction of the laws of his Creator. While 
lord of the lower world, he is a slave to the vilest and 
most degrading passions ; he loves not his Maker, and is 
hostile and oppressive to his fellows. In a word, he is 
as fearfully and wonderfully vile, as he was fearfully and 
wonderfully made ; and all this shows most forcibly that 
he stands guilty before God, and is in danger of perish- 
ing everlastingly. 

Now in these two things, the physical and intellectual 
greatness of man, and his moral depravity and baseness, 


lies the reason of human redemption. As he is guilty, 
polluted, and morally incapable of helping himself, he 
stands in need of a Redeemer, to save him from ever- 
lasting destruction. As he is one of the noblest works 
of God, — that in which he has manifested his skill, 
power, and goodness, in the most singular manner, — he is 
worthy to be redeemed. "For it was not proper," as 
St. Athanasius observes, " that those should perish who 
were once partakers of the image of God :" to save such 
a creature from such a final destruction of the end for 
which he was created, was an object worthy the inter- 
position even of God himself. He knew the powers with 
which he had endued him, and he loves every work of 
his hand in proportion to the degree of impression it 
bears of his own excellence. Though man has sinned, 
and has become universally depraved; yet he has lost 
none of his essential faculties — they still remain : and 
the grandeur of the ruins shows the unrivalled excel- 
lence and perfection of the original building. God can- 
not forsake the work of his hands ; and he still beholds 
him as radically the noblest of his creatures. And as 
the attention of God must be fixed on each of his works 
in proportion to its excellence, and the greatness of the 
design for which he had formed it; man, as the most 
noble of his creatures, and made for the highest ends, 
must be the object of his peculiar regards. Of no 
creature but man is it said, that it was made in the 
image and likeness of God. Neither the thrones, domi- 
nions, principalities, powers, cherubim, seraphim, arch- 
angels, or angels, have shared this honour. It is possible 
that only one order of created beings could be thus 
formed. And is it not on this account that Jesus took 
not upon him the nature of the angels, but the seed of 
Abraham ; — him with whom the covenant of redemption 
was made for Jews and Gentiles ? Now, in this superior 


excellence of the human nature, do we not find a solu- 
tion of the difficulty, why God passed by angels to re- 
deem man ; and why he so loved the human race, as to 
send his only-begotten Son into the world to die for its 
redemption ? 

III. From this it appears that the sacrifice of the Lord 
Jesus was the only means by which the world could be 

Before I enter particularly into the discussion of this 
point, it will be necessary to say something of Him 
who is the author of this redemption, and who is here 
called God's only -begotten Son. When, we examine the 
oracles of God relative to the person and character of 
this Divine Being, we shall find that they speak of him 
as God, and clothe him with every attribute essential to 
the supreme and eternal Deity. I shall quote a few of 
their sayings, without any particular reference : " He was 
in the beginning with God ; he was God, and all things 
were made by him and for him, and without him was 
nothing made that was made ; and he is before all things, 
and by him do all things consist. He was God mani- 
fest in the flesh; for that Word which was God, was 
made flesh, and tabernacled among us ; and in that flesh 
dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." These are 
only a few of the sayings of the inspired writers relative 
to this subject : but they are full and conclusive ; they 
are oracles from heaven, and have no delusive meaning, 
and any one of them is sufficient to prove the point. 
" But did his conduct among men justify this high cha- 
racter 1" Yes ; most amply. From the first impression 
made by the reported miracles of Christ, Nicodemus could 
say, " No man can do the miracles which thou dost, ex- 
cept God be with him." And every reasonable man, on 
the same evidence, would draw the same inference. But 


we certainly can go much farther, when we find him, by 
his own authority and power, without the invocation of 
any foreign help, with a word, or a touch, and in a mo- 
ment, restoring sight to the blind, speech to the dumb,, 
hearing to the deaf, and health to the diseased, cleansing 
the lepers, and raising the dead. These are works which 
could only be effected by the omnipotence of God. This 
is incontestable. Therefore while the cleansing of the 
lepers, and the feeding to the full so many thousands of 
men and women, with five barley loaves and two small 
fishes, stand upon such irrefragable testimony, as that 
contained in the four Evangelists, Jesus Christ must ap- 
pear, in the eye of unbiassed reason, as the Author of 
nature, the true and only Potentate, the almighty and 
everlasting God, howsoever obscured he may seem to be 
by dwelling in flesh. 

In the text he is entitled Ylov avrov tqv /xovoyevr), his 
only-begotten Son. It is of some moment to understand 
the proper meaning of this expressson. The term has 
two general acceptations in Scripture : it signifies, 1 . The 
only child in a family. 2. The most beloved, or him who 
is dearest to his parents, though there may be other 
children in the family. In this sense it answers to the 
Hebrew tit yachid, the beloved one or only one ; or what 
we translate darling, Ps. xxii. 20, " Deliver my darling, 
titiv yechidati, from the power of the dog •" which is by 
the Septuagint rendered rr\v povoyevr) fiov, my only-be- 
gotten. In Ps. xxv. 16, we translate the same Hebrew 
term tit yachid, " desolate ;" but the Septuagint render 
it fiovoyevtjg, only-begotten. The same term is translated 
in the same way, Ps. xxxv. 17, " Rescue — my darling, 
titit yechidati, from the lions;" Sept. anoKaTaerrioov — 
O7ro Xeovriov rr\v novoytvt] fiov, " Rescue my first-born 
from the lions." It is used in the same sense by the 
apocryphal writers. So in the Wisdom of Solomon, 


chap. vii. 22 : " For wisdom, which is the worker of all 

things,*taught me ; for in her is an understanding spirit, 

holy, one only, povoysvrig, only-begotten." Seethe margin. 

It is in the second of the two senses that it is taken in the 

text, and answers to dear, highly prized, well or best 

beloved. See Matt. iii. 17, " This is my beloved Son." 

Col. i. 13, " He hath translated us into the kingdom of 

his dear Son," &c. The proper import of the phrase in 

the text is expressed by St. Mark, xii. 6, " Having yet 

one Son, his well-beloved, he sent him also last unto them" 

— kva vlov tx wv ayairriTov. This speaks of the same thing 

as the text does ; and ha vlov ayairqTov, the one beloved 

Son, is exactly the same as the tov vlov avrovrov fiovoytvri, 

the only-begotten Son. Now, our blessed Lord is called 

so as to his human nature, because of the peculiarity of 

his generation. No human being was ever produced in 

the same way — in this respect he is the only-begotten 

Son of God. The angel Gabriel, sent from God, thus 

announces his conception and birth to the Virgin Mary, 

" The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power 

of the Highest shall overshadow thee ; therefore also 

that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called 

the Son of God." Luke i. 35. I have, in a note on the 

preceding text, demonstrated, by an argument that can 

never be overthrown, that this is spoken only of the 

human nature of Christ; for as to his divine nature, 

that, being properly and essentially God, cannot be either 

begotten or produced; much less eternally begotten, 

which, howsoever explained, is in perfect opposition to 

reason and common sense; and as far as a sentiment 

can be so, is destructive of the eternal and essential deity 

of Jesus. By not attending to the proper meaning of 

only-begotten Son, some of the fathers, as well as the 

moderns, have fallen into strange absurdities. So Gregory 

Nyssen begins his fifth oration, In Christi Resurrec- 


tionem, with these words, Evfrifitfowfitv arjutpov, tov fiovo- 
ytvtj Qeov, Let us celebrate to-day the only-begotten God ! 
This is speaking out — but he was probably not aware of 
the dangerous tendency of such unguarded expressions ; 
though he has others full as exceptionable. It would be 
easy to multiply quotations more exceptionable and more 
dangerous, on this head, from many of those primitive 
fathers who are reputed orthodox : this, however, must 
be deferred to a future opportunity. But, as the salva- 
tion of the whole human race stands or falls with the 
proper, essential, underived deity of Jesus Christ, we 
must take heed, lest, while we profess to hold the thing, 
we destroy the foundation on which it rests. 

But it is not in this or such like insulated terms that 
we are to seek the dignity and godhead of the Redeemer 
of mankind. We must have recourse to such scriptures 
as those which I have already produced ; and we must 
not confound the Godhead with the manhood : we must 
carefully distinguish the two natures in Christ — the di- 
vine and human. As man, he laboured, fainted, hun- 
gered, was thirsty ; ate, drank, slept, suffered, and died. 
As God, he created all things, governs all, worked the 
most stupendous miracles ; is omniscient, omnipresent, 
and is the Judge as well as the Maker of the whole hu- 
man race. As God and man, combined in one person, 
he suffered for man ; died for man ; rose again for man; 
commands repentance and remission of sins to be preached 
through the world in his name ; forgives iniquity ; dis- 
penses the gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost ; is Me- 
diator between God and man ; and the sole Head and 
Governor of his church. 

He was man, that he might suffer and die for the of- 
fences of man ; for justice and reason both required that 
the nature that sinned should suffer for the sin. But he 


was Ggd, that the suffering might be stamped with an 
infinite value ; and thus, instead of merely suffering on 
account of sin, might be a sufficient sacrifice and atone- 
ment for the sin of the world. Were Jesus to be con- 
sidered merely as man, then it is evident that his suffer- 
ings and death could be no atonement for sin, because 
they could have no merit. If he be considered jmerelv 
as God, then he could neither suffer nor die ; and, con- 
sequently, man must be unredeemed ; for without shed- 
ding of blood there is no remission : but if we consider 
him as God-man, we see him capable of suffering ; and 
find that the purgation of our sins was by the merit of 
the blood which he shed in his passion and death. Thus, 
as one has said, " He was man, that he might have blood 
to shed ; and God, that when shed, it might be of infi- 
nite value." But while we distinguish the two natures 
in Jesus Christ, we must not suppose that the sacred 
writers always express these two natures by distinct and 
appropriate names : The names given to our blessed 
Lord are used indifferently to express his whole nature : 
Jesus, Christ, Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, Son of Man, 
Son of God, beloved Son, only-begotten Son, our Lord 
Jesus Christ, our Saviour, &c, &c, are all repeatedly and 
indiscriminately used to designate his whole person as 
God and man, in reference to the great work of human 
salvation, which, from its nature, could not be accom- 
plished but by such an union. 

All who are taught of God use these terms in the 
same way. When we speak of Jesus Christ, we do not 
mean the man Christ Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary ; 
nor him who is the fulness of the Godhead bodily : but 
we mean both ; the great God, even our Saviour, Jesus 
Christ, " who for us men, and our salvation, came down 
from heaven, and was incarnated by the Holy Ghost of 


the Virgin Mary, and was made man." In this sense I 
invariably use these terms, when the contrary is not 

IV From all these we may be clearly convinced that 
sin must be an inconceivable evil, and possess an inde- 
scribable malignity, when it required no less a sacrifice 
to make atonement for it than that offered by God 
manifested in the flesh. 

It is said in the text that God gave this glorious per- 
sonage through his love to the world. Now, it is most 
evident from the Scriptures, that this giving implies the 
intention of God that he should be considered as a sacri- 
ficial offering, and die for the sins of mankind. This our 
Lord himself clearly expresses : " The son of man came 
— to give his life a ransom for many," Matt. xx. 28. 
" I lay down my life for the sheep," John x. 15. And 
that this was a sacrificial and atoning death, we find, 
because without it neither repentance nor remission of 
sins could be effectually preached in the world. " Thus 
it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead, 
that repentance and remission of sins should be preached 
in his name among all nations." And in his institution 
of the Eucharist, he says, that " the cup represents the 
blood of the new covenant, which was shed for the re- 
mission of sins," Matt. xxvi. 27, 28, Luke xxiv. 46, 47- 
And, because God gave him for this very purpose, there- 
fore is he called " the Lamb of God, that taketh away 
the sin of the world, John i. 29. And on this account 
it is said that " we were not redeemed with corruptible 
things, but with the precious blood (n/a^i a'tfian, the 
valuable blood) of Christ, as a lamb without blemish 
and without spot; who verily was foreordained before 
the foundation of the world," 1 Pet. i. 18—20. And> 



" he gave himself a ransom for all," 1 Tim. ii. 6. And 
St. Paul expressly says, that " the great God, even our 
Saviour Jesus Christ, gave himself for us, that he 
might redeem us from all iniquity," Tit. ii. 13, 14. So 
that this giving evidently means a sacrificial offering ; a 
giving up life unto death ; and this was the very design 
of God in sending his Son into the world. 

And' from what is said of this in the Scriptures we 
learn that such an offering or sacrifice was indispensably 
necessary : for had it not been so, God would not have 
required it ; and that he did require it, is most clearly 
and explicitly revealed. The Mosaic institutions derived 
their authority and origin from God. In them he re- 
quired that the lives of certain animals should be offered 
at his altar, as a redemption-price for the lives of trans- 
gressors : and yet in these " sacrifices, offerings, burnt- 
offerings, and sacrifices for sin," which were offered 
according to this very law, " he took no pleasure," ber 
cause it was " not possible that the blood of bulls and of 
goats should take away sin." See Ps. xl. 6 — 8, collated 
with Heb. x. 4 — 7« Nor had these any significancy, nor 
could have any effect, but as they referred to the sacri- 
ficial offering of the life of our blessed Lord, who was 
that Lamb of God (that One which God alone could 
provide), that could take away the sin of the world ; and 
which was, in the purpose of God, slain from the foun- 
dation of the world, Rev. xiii. 8. And therefore the 
apostle justly argues that the law, in these sacrificial 
rites, was only the shadow of good things to come, and 
not the very image or substance of the things, and con- 
sequently could not make the comers thereunto perfect ; 
could neither pardon nor purify them, Heb. x. 1. The 
whole sacrificial system being little more than a continual 
remembrance of the demerit and destructive nature of 


sin, and of the utter impossibility that any human 
means could be effectual to remove its guilt and de- 
served punishment ; and therefore the incarnation, pas- 
sion, and death of the Lord Jesus, were intended in 
God's infinite counsel, and provided by his indescribable 
love, to do what the law could not perform : " God so 
loved the world." 

From this view of the subject I am led to contend, — 

1. That this sacrifice was indispensably necessary, else 
God had not required it 

2. That nothing less, or of inferior worth, could have 
answered the end, else God would have required and 
provided that ; for it would be derogatory to his wisdom 
to require or provide less than was necessary fully to ac- 
complish his design ; for thus the effect could either not 
be produced, or if produced, be brought about with such 
a penury of means as would little comport with the 
dignity and sufficiency of the divine plenitude; and 
would leave endless place for doubt in the human breast, 
whether such scanty means could be considered sufficient 
to accomplish so great an end. 

1. It would be equally inconsistent with God's wisdom, 
as well as with his justice, to require more than what 
was absolutely necessary; as this would imply, 1. A 
needless display of means to accomplish an end, which, 
when produced, could not justify the means employed. 
2. It would imply an unjust exaction of more payment 
than the sum of the debt, and thus be an impeachment 
of the divine equity. 

2. It appears from the nature of this sacrifice, that, 
«ould it be conceived possible that a greater sacrifice had 
been necessary, yet it must appear impossible that such 
an one could have been provided; for a greater than 
God manifested in the flesh could not have been pro- 

u 2 


duced* for God himself could furnish nothing greater 
than the Almighty's fellow. Zech. xiii. 7- " Awake, O 
sword, against my shepherd, and smite the man that is 
my Fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts. Smite the Shep- 
herd, and the sheep shall be scattered," See Matt. xxvi. 
31, where these words are quoted by our Lord, as refer- 
ring to his sacrificial death : and see John x. 30, where 
the same sentiment is delivered in the words, "I and 
the Father are one, «yw km 6 Tlarrip sv l<rfitv." Thus, God 
gave the greatest gift his eternal plenitude could pro- 
vide ; and beyond which heaven itself had nothing more 
valuable or glorious to impart. 

3. As everything that God does is of infinite worth 
and value, and must be sufficient to accomplish the end 
for which it was designed; we may therefore safely 
conclude, that " the death of Jesus Christ upon the 
cross for our redemption, was a full, perfect, and suf- 
ficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of 
the whole world ;" for, such a sacrifice God did require, 
as we have already seen ; and it was for this very pur- 
pose that he did require it, viz., that they who believe 
in him might not perish, but have everlasting life. And 
as there is in it such a fulness of merit, it must excite 
the strongest confidence in them who flee to lay hold on 
the hope set before them in the gospel. 

4. As nothing less than this infinitely meritorious sa- 
crifice could have been suflficient for the redemption of 
the world, we see in it the destructive nature of sin, and 
its (anything but) infinite demerit. If we look on sin 
in itself, our minds get soon bounded in their views, by 
particular acts of transgression, of which we can scarcely 
perceive the turpitude and demerit ; as we neither con- 
sider the principle whence they have proceeded, the car- 
nal mind which is enmity against God ; nor the nature 


and. dignity of that God against whom they are commit- 
ted. But when we consider the infinite dignity of Jesus, 
whose passion and death were required to make atone- 
ment for sin, then we shall see it as exceeding sinful, 
KaO' vntpfioXriv, that its vitiosity and turpitude are beyond 
all comparison and description. Rom. vii. 13. 

5. We not only see the exceeding sinfulness of sin in 
the grandeur of the sacrifice required for its expiation ; 
but we see also, in the dignity of the redeeming nature, 
the dignity of the nature to be redeemed. Had the hu- 
man nature been inferior to the angelic nature, the sacri- 
fice of an angel or archangel might have been deemed 
sufficient to make an atonement for the sin of man : 
though even this could not have possessed infinite merit ; 
and therefore, even allowing the inferiority of the nature 
of man, must have been in many important respects in- 
efficient. But so radically great and excellent was the 
human nature, that nothing less than the incarnation of 
God could be sufficient : and by this means, this being, 
who was made in the divine image, and in the most in- 
timate union with God, was restored to this image ; 
and, consequently, to the same union. But as I have 
spoken particularly on this subject already, See p. 442, 
443, I need not extend the argument any further here. 

V But we must not suppose that because such an 
infinitely meritorious sacrifice has been offered for the 
salvation of the human race, that therefore they must 
necessarily be saved, merely because the offering has 
been made. Our Lord guards us against this error, by 
showing us in the text that the gift of God's love becomes 
effectual to the salvation of them only who believe : 
" that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but 
have everlasting life." 


Now, as what the law speaks, it speaks to them who 
are under the law ; so, what the gospel speaks, it speaks 
to them who are the gospel — who] live in a Christian 
country, and have the opportunity of reading and hear- 
ing the word of life. As those who sin under the law, 
shall be judged by the law; so those who sin under the 
gospel, shall be judged by the gospel. The text, there- 
fore, does not relate to those heathen countries to which 
the word of this salvation has not yet been sent. 

But what is that believing to which this salvation is 
annexed ? I need not discuss this subject here at large, 
having treated it in the most circumstantial manner in a 
subsequent discourse on 'Acts xvi. 30, entitled, " Salva- 
tion by Faith." It is enough to state, in general terms, 
that believing here implies, giving credit to what God has 
spoken concerning Christ, his sacrifice, the end for which 
it was offered, and the way in which it is to be applied 
in order to its becoming effectual. 

I. It does appear to me that it is absolutely necessary 

to believe the proper and essential Godhead of Christ, in 

order to be convinced that the sacrifice which has been 

offered is a sufficient sacrifice. Nothing less than a 

sacrifice of infinite merit can atone for the offences of 

the whole world, and purchase for mankind an eternal 

glory; and if Jesus be not properly, essentially, and 

eternally God, he has not offered, he could not offer, 

such a sacrifice. The sacred writers are nervous and 

pointed on this subject, as we have already seen ; nor 

can I see that any sinner, deeply convinced of his fallen 

guilty state, can rely on the merit of his sacrifice for 

salvation, unless he have a plenary conviction of this 

most glorious and momentous truth. As eternal glory 

must be of infinite value, if it be purchased by Christ, 

or be given as the consequence of his meritorious death, 


then that death must be of infinite merit, or else it 
could not procure what is of infinite value. So that, 
could we even suppose the possibility of the pardon of 
sin without such a merit, we could not possibly believe 
that eternal glory could be procured without it. It. 
must be granted, if Christ be but a mere man, as some 
think ; or the highest and first of all the creatures of 
God, as others suppose ; let his actions and sufferings be 
whatever they may, they are only the obedience and 
sufferings of an originated and limited being ; and cannot 
possess infinite and eternal merit ; but the contrary has, 
I hope, been satisfactorily proved. 

2. It is necessary to believe that his sufferings were 
not accidental, or the mere consequence of Jewish malice 
and his own inflexible integrity. Jesus was not a 
martyr, but a sacrifice. Before Jews or their malice 
existed, his sacrificial death was designed, because it 
was absolutely necessary; therefore is he called "the 
Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Here is 
no martyrdom, no fortuitous suffering ; here is nothing 
less than a sacrificial offering. 

3. It is necessary to believe, to be fully persuaded, 
that he died for our offences, and rose again for our jus- 
tification ; that this was the very end or object of his 
incarnation, passion, and death. That he died for every 
human soul, for all who are partakers of the same nature 
which he has assumed ; that the merit and benefits of 
his death must necessarily extend to all mankind, because 
he has assumed that nature which is common to all; 
nor could the merit of his death be limited to any par- 
ticular part, nation, tribe, or individuals of the vast 
human family. It is not the nature of a particular 
nation, tribe, family, or individual which he has assumed, 
but the nature of the whole human race ; and " God 
has made of one blood all the nations of men, for to 


dwell oa all the face of the earth," that all these might 
he redeemed with one blood ; for he is the kinsman of 
the whole. The merit of his death must, therefore, ex- 
tend to every man, unless we can find individuals or 
families that have not sprung from that stock of which 
he became incarnated. His death must be infinitely 
meritorious, and extend in its benefits to all who are 
partakers of the same nature, because he was God mani- 
fested in the flesh ; and to contract or limit that merit, 
that it should apply only to a few, or even to any mul- 
titudes short of the whole human race, is one of those 
things which is impossible to God himself, because it 
involves a moral contradiction. He could no more limit 
the merit of that death than he could limit his own 
eternity, or contract that love which induced him to 
undertake the redemption of a lost world. 

4. We must believe that the way in which God saves 
man by Christ, is the way of faith. No human works 
can here avail ; for, were they ever so pure and perfect, 
they could not possess infinite merit, because their agent 
is a limited creature. Nor can any kind of sufferings 
be more available. I have proved elsewhere, that as 
sufferings are the effects, either near or remote, of sin, 
consequently they cannot destroy their cause. They can 
be no other, in all points of view, than the miseries of a 
limited and imperfect creature ; and, consequently, can- 
not have that merit requisite to atone for offences against 
the Majesty of heaven, or procure for their patient, 
much less for the whole world, an infinite and eternal 
weight of glory. 

Faith alone, therefore, is left as the means by which 
the purchased blessings are applied. Although God is 
just, yet he can be the justifier of him that believeth in 
Jesus ; of him that believes on and trusts to the in- 
finitely meritorious death of the Son of his love. For 


God never can act without a reason, and such a reason 
as can amply justify his acting. The death of Christ for 
man is a sufficient reason why God should forgive the 
man who reposes all his trust and confidence in him. 
And this very thing is a sufficient reason for God's act, 
and for man's faith. 

I dwell the more particularly on the necessity of 
considering Christ's death as a meritorious sacrifice, and 
the necessity of believing in it as such, in order to dis- 
tinguish thetrue or thodox or scriptural faith in Christ, 
from that of Arianism. This latter doctrine, of which 
most who speak and write seem deplorably ignorant, is 
built ostensibly on the incomparable merit of Jesus Christ. 
This is not the Arianism which is spoken of by many 
of the fathers ; for they are continually confounding the 
doctrine imputed to Arius with that held by multitudes 
who professed to be his followers, whose doctrine appears 
to be, in many respects, nearly the same with what is 
now called Socinianism. The Arianism to which I refer 
is that of the present day, which is founded in the fol- 
lowing scale of intellectual entities and perfections ; and 
which the doctrine of metaphysics has been called in to 
accredit and support, " The principal things," says a 
late author, " relating to incorporeal essences or spirits, 
taught us by Revelation, are the following : 

" 1st, That God himself is a Spirit, and infinitely the 
most perfect of all others ; whose high dignity and sin- 
gular majesty we call the Godhead, or Deity. 

" 2d, That next to God there is another being, origi- 
nally a pure spiritual essence, which in time assumed 
thereunto a corporeal substance or body, of a most ex- 
cellent and superlative nature, who therefore is called 
the Son of God, or next to him in dignity. 

" 3d, We are informed also, that in the third degree of 



the scal# of spiritual essences is one of a peculiar naturey 
having a near relation to the other two ; and, from his 
office, has the name of Holy Ghost, as being the sancti- 
fier of men. 

"4th, At an immense remove from these we find a 
fourth class of incorporeal substances, called angels by 
us, but by the heathens, demons, genii, &c, concerning 
which we read of various denominations, numbers, and 
subordinations; which latter is called the hierarchy of 
angels, and is usually reckoned threefold, vizr. : The first 
hierarchy contains the three most honorary orders, called 
seraphim, cherubim, and thrones; the second hierarchy 
consists of three intermediate orders, called dominions, 
virtues, and powers ; the third hierarchy contains the 
three lowest orders, called! principalities, archangels, and 
angels." — Martins Philology, article Metaphysics, page 

This scheme is formed on the philosophical principle 
of the graduated scale of intelligences, and of entities in 
general, which maintains that there is no chasm or break 
from God, the Fountain of being, to the lowest inor- 
ganized particle of matter, or atom ; and that all proceed 
from the indivisible particle of inert matter, through dif- 
ferent forms of organized being, up to animal life ; and 
through different degrees of animal life up to intellectual ; 
and through various degrees of intellectual life up to 
Goo. Matter being more perfect as it approaches to, or 
rises from, inertness to organization ; organization being 
more or less perfect as it approaches to, or recedes from, 
vitality; vitality, being more or less perfect as it ap- 
proaches to, or recedes from, intellectual existence ; and 
intellectual existence, being more or less perfect, as it 
approaches to, or recedes from, the Ens Entium, or God. 
This scheme also supposes that all orders of created 


l/eings are connected by certain links, which partake of 
the nature of the beings in the ascending and descending 
scale ; e. g., animals and vegetables are linked together 
by the polype, or plant animal ; fowls and reptiles, by the 
bat ; fishes and beasts, by the hippopotamus ; quadrupeds 
and man, by the ouran-outang ; and man and angels, by 
men of extraordinary powers, such as Plato among the 
ancients, and Sir Isaac Newton among the moderns. 

This graduated scale of entities is highly illustrative 
of the manifold wisdom of God ; and to it I have no 
objection, provided the holy and adorable Trinity be left 
out of the question. From the lowest particle of matter, 
up to God, the scale may be accurate enough ; but when 
it attempts to graduate the Sacred Persons in the Holy 
Trinity, saying, as in the preceding extract, that the Son 
of God is next in dignity to God ; that " the Holy 
Ghost is the third degree in spiritual essences, having a 
near relation to the other two ;" we are not only to re- 
ceive such assertions with caution, but to reject them in 
toto, as being utterly repugnant to Divine revelation, in 
which the preceding system says they are taught. 

Revelation most certainly teaches us that there are 
persons in the Holy Trinity, Matt. in\ 16, 17; but it 
nowhere teaches us that there is any inequality among 
those persons ; for, " In this trinity none is afore or 
after other ; none is greater or less than another ; 
for although there be one person of the Father, another 
of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost, yet the 
Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy 
Ghost, is all one; the glory equal, the Majesty co- 
eternal; for the whole three persons are co-eternal 
together, and co-equal." Thus far the Athanasian creed 
is consistent with itself, and with the sacred oracles, and 
is point blank opposed to the Arian system, already pro- 


duced, and to all refinements on that system of origina- 
tion, begetting, proceeding, eternal Sonship, &c, which, 
properly analyzed, are fairly deducible to the three de- 
grees in the above Arian scale of spiritual essences ; yet 
this creed in other places, in contradiction to the above, 
countenances those spurious doctrines.* 

But I have intimated above, that this doctrine is in- 
tended to oppose all sacrificial merit in the passion and 
death of Christ, while it allows him a moral merit, in 
consequence of which God gives the covenant of salva- 
tion to the Gentiles, and pardons, sanctifies, and saves 
all who believe the Christian revelation, and lead a holy 
life. This is specious, but radically unsolid. Its im- 
posing aspect has deceived many, as it seems to magnify 
the Lord Jesus, while it strips him of every kind of 
merit, but that which he has as a righteous and holy man. 
This is by no means the view which the sacred Scrip- 
tures give us of the merit of Christ, in his passion and 
death ; and appears to me both defective and dangerous. 

This scheme has got its best support and highest 
colouring from Dr. J. Taylor, whom I have often quoted 
in other places, with deserved approbation and delight, 
but to whom I must refer here with Avidely opposite 
feelings. From his " Introduction to the Apostolic 

* This Creed, far from being a work of Athanasius, to whom it 
does not appear to hare been attributed before the seventh century 
is probably not the work of any Greek Father. AH the ancient 
copies of it are Latin ; and the Greek copies of it are evidently 
translated from them, and are of no antiquity. The Benedictines 
•have proved that it is not the work of Athanasius, and think it was 
written in France. They have entered it at the end of their edition 
among the Spuria. When, where, or by whom it was written, no' 
man knows. I wish, as Archbishop Tillotson said, " we were well 
iid of it." 


Writings " I collect the following extracts, which, contain 
at least the fair outlines of his scheme. 

" God," says he, " grounded the extraordinary favours 
enjoyed by the Israelites, on Abraham's faith and obe- 
dience, and selected them out of respect to the piety and 
virtue of their ancestors." — p. 4. 

"Jesus Christ, having assumed a human body, exhi- 
bited a pattern of the most perfect obedience, even unto 
death, in firm adherence to the truth he taught ; and in 
consequence of this, he is a pattern of reward, by being 
raised from the dead ; and having a commission to raise 
all mankind, and to put all into the possession of eternal 
life who shall in the last day be found virtuous and 
holy." — lb., p. 25. 

" The blood of Christ is the perfect obedience and good- 
ness of Christ ; nor is the blood of Christ to be con- 
sidered only in relation to our Lord's death and suffer- 
ings, as if mere death or suffering were, in itself, of such 
a nature as to be pleasing or acceptable to God. But 
his blood implies a character ; and it is his blood, as he 
is ' a Lamb without spot and blemish,' 1 Pet. i. 19 (that 
is, as he is perfectly holy), which is so great value in 
the sight of God. His blood is the same as his ' offer- 
ing himself without spot to God ;' Heb. x. 14." Ib. 5 
p. 44. 

" What Christ did was neither to incline God to be 
gracious, nor to disengage him from any counter-obli- 
gations, arising from law or justice, or what the sinner's 
case might deserve ; but what Christ did and suffered 
was a proper and wise expedient, a Jit ground, and method 
of granting mercy to the world." — lb., p. 47- 

" When I say Christ's love and obedience is a just 
foundation of the divine grace, I know not how to ex- 
plain myself better than by the following instance : 


There tiave been masters willing, now and then, to grant 
a relaxation from study, or even to remit deserved 
punishment, in case any one boy, in behalf of the whole 
school., or of the offender, would compose and present a 
distich or copy of Latin Verses ; and one may say that 
the kind verse-maker purchased the favour in both 
cases ; Or that his learning, ingenuity, industry, goodness* 
and compliance with the governor's will and pleasure, 
was a just ground or foundation of the pardon and re- 
freshment, or a proper reason of granting them.'* — Ib.$ 
p. 49, note. 

" Agreeably to this scheme^ Abraham is proposed as a 
bright example of obedience and reward ; and his obe- 
dience is given as the reason of conferring blessings upon 
his posterity; and particularly of having the Messiah^ 
the Redeemer, and greatest blessings of mankind, de- 
scend from him." — lb., p. 50, 

From all this most exceptionable^ most meagre, and 
inefficient scheme of salvation, we gather that^ as God 
called Abraham from his Gentilism, revealed to him the 
knowledge of his name and nature, and made him emi- 
nent for piety and probity, that he might constitute him 
the head of a numerous posterity, whom he could bless, 
protect, and save in the most extraordinary manner, on 
account of the rewardable righteousness and merit of 
their progenitor ; so he has sent Jesus Christ to enlighten 
and instruct the whole world, Jews and Gentiles; a 
person, who in every respect did the will of God, and 
was obedient to the divine wn% even unto death ; and 
who therefore, like " the kind verse-maker," in the pre- 
ceding illustrative instance (which appears to have been 
made for the purpose), may be said to have purchased the 
favour of God for the offending world ; so that his super- 
eminent goodness and compliance with the will of the 

A DISCOURSE Oft jfOHN III. 16. 46$ 

supreme Governor is a just ground and foundation of 
pardon and salvation to the world, and a proper reason 
for granting them ! 

This is a sort of rewardable moral merit, in reference 
to the world, just similar to that of Abraham, in behalf 
of the Jewish people, from which every idea of sacrificial 
merit and atonement is excluded. On this ground the 
martyred Isaiah, and the massacred Baptist, might have 
afforded to the benevolence of God a sufficient ground 
and proper reason for the remission of the sins of men j 
for as the life of one man is as much, personally consi- 
dered, as the life of another ; and obedience unto death 
as much marked the conduct of the evangelical prophet, 
of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, and the holy Baptist, 
as that of our blessed Lord, if divested of his Godhead 
and eternity, as this scheme supposes ; might not they 
or any of them have been as complete a ground why 
God should forgive the sins of the world, as the obedient 
life and death of Christ? Again, if Abraham's merit 
could extend to the whole Jewish race, why not to the 
Gentiles, in whose behalf chiefly the covenant was made ? 
for it was made with him while yet uncircumcised ; and 
the pledge on God's part was, that " in his seed all the 
nations of the earth should be blessed/* Now, if this 
will hold good on the above reasoning, what need was 
there of the miraculous conception, the agony and 
bloody sweat, the cross and passion, the death and burial, 
the glorious resurrection and ascension of the blessed 
Jesus ? Why such an extraordinary expenditure of 
means and energies ? Why such an apparatus of prophecy, 
legal ordinances, sacrificial institutions, and miraculous 
interpositions * to keep in view the divine purpose ; to 
commemorate the facts by which it was prefigured; to 
preserve the regal line from which the promised seed 


was to*issue ; and finally, to exhibit it to the world ; if 
tso much less, so indescribably less, might have accom- 
plished the purpose ? Was not all this 

" Just like an ocean into tempest tossed, 
To waft a feather, or to drown ajly ?'' 

But to see more fully the utter inefficacy of this pre- 
ftendedly sufficient moral merit, let us hear what our 
Lord says in the text : " God gave his only-begotten Son, 
that whosoever believeth on him should not perish." 
Was anything like this ever addressed to the Jews, in 
reference to Abraham ? Were they ever promised re- 
mission of sins, provided they believed on this friend of 
God ? Were they ever commanded to believe on him 
at all ? Were they not ever led to consider that their 
sacrifices, where the life-blood of the animal was poured 
out in behalf of the offerer, were the grand cause of the 
remission of deserved punishment, and the forgiveness 
of sin ? Did they not know that without shedding of 
blood there was no remission ; and that the sacrificial 
code was the essential part of the Jewish system ? And 
do not we see, from the concurrent testimony both of the 
Old and New covenants, that all these sacrifices typified 
the offering of the life of Jesus Christ upon the cross, by 
which he obtained eternal redemption for us ; so that he 
who believeth on him, as having " died for his offences, 
and risen again for his justification, is freely justified 
from all things, from which he could not be justified by 
the law of Moses ?" 

I contend, therefore, that this one circumstance, the 
command to believe on Christ crucified for the remission 
of sins, even leaving his Godhead entirely out of the 
question, utterly destroys the pretended parallelism be- 
tween Abraham and Jesus, and completely saps, sub- 


verts, and ruins this splendid edifice. It is to that faith 
which credits, trusts to, and relies upon the meritorious 
blood {rinKji alfian) of our Lord Jesus, which he sweat 
in the garden, and poured out upon the cross, as a full 
atonement and sacrifice for sin, that pardon and eternal 
glory are promised, and promised not on account of the 
merit of the faith, but the merit of the sacrifice which 
faith has apprehended. 

VI. This brings me to the last thing proposed, viz., 
That they who thus believe receive a double merit : 
1. They are exempted from eternal perdition — "That 
they should not perish." 2. They are brought to eternal 
glory — " That they should have everlasting life." 

I have stated that this double benefit proves, 1. That 
man is guilty, and therefore exposed to punishment and 
perdition. 2. That he is unholy, and therefore unfit for 

1. "That they should not perish," Iva firj airo\r]Tai. 
Though we generally connect the idea of eternal de- 
struction with the word perish, and use it to signify to 
run into decay or ruin, to be cut off, to be hilled, to die, 
and to be annihilated; yet the literal meaning of the 
word is simple ; it is compounded of per, by or through, 
and eo, I go, and signifies no more than " passing out of 
sight." So in Isai. lvii. 1, " The righteous perisheth," 
Justus periit. Thus it signifies to be "removed by death,'' 
to " pass out of sight " into the invisible world, or para- 
dise of God. 

The original word is compounded of cnro, intensive, 
and oXKvfii or oXXvco, to destroy, to kill, to lose ; hence the 
word a7ro\Xvfii signifies " to be utterly lost ;" not implying 
any extinction of being, but the rendering that being 
useless ; totally defeating the end and purpose of life. 


As God created man for himself, and to be finally happy 
with himself; and he cannot be united to him unless he 
be holy; he that sins, and neglects the means of his 
recovery, loses the end of his living ; he also passes by 
from the sight of men ; he goes into the invisible world ; 
but it is the blackness of darkness for ever. He is not 
annihilated ; even his body rises in the great day ; but 
his resurrection is to shame and everlasting contempt. 
He goes to hell, the place of the perdition of ungodly 
men ; and there his worm dieth not, and the fire is not 
quenched. This is what the Scripture means by per- 
dition or perishing; this is the portion of the sinner 
who dies unsaved ; and it was to prevent this that Jesus 
Christ shed his sacrificial blood. As man is a sinner, 
he is in danger of this perdition ; for this is the punish- 
ment which the divine justice has awarded to transgres- 
sion : and from this punishment, he who, with a penitent 
heart, believes, as before described, on the Son of God, 
is saved, being truly justified from all things ; and shall 
not thus perish. This is the first part of the benefit. 

But, secondly, he is to have eternal life. His being 
will not only be continued, but his well-being shall 
be secured: he shall be fitted for and received into 
glory. This is called everlasting life, X,bn\v auaviov, " the 
life that always lives," q. d., au w, it is always in being. 
In a word, it is eternal ; for as the design of God was 
to unite men eternally to himself; and he is the Author 
and Source of life ; consequently he who is made holy, 
and is thus united to God, ever lives in and by this 
eternal life. This is a life that cannot perish, a life that 
can never know decay. 

2. Thus we see, 1. That as man is guilty, he needs 
that pardon which preserves from the punishment of 
perdition. 2. As he is impure and unholy in his nature, 


he needs to be washed, to be cleansed from all unright- 
eousness, and made a partaker of the divine nature ; 
have the very thoughts of his heart cleansed by the 
inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that he may be fit to 
dwell with God for ever and ever. His being sanctified 
throughout body, soul, and spirit, prepares him for this 
state ; and this is the second part of the double benefit 
which he receives by believing on Christ Jesus. 

3. This double benefit comprises the two grand doc- 
trines relative to salvation, which enter into almost every 
Christians creed : — 

1. Justification, or the pardon of sin ; through which 
we are no longer obnoxious to punishment, and are 
therefore saved from perdition. 

2. Sanctification, or the purification of the soul 
from all unrighteousness, by which it is prepared for 
eternal glory. Without justification or pardon, it must 
perish ; without sanctification or holiness, it cannot see 

The first of these great works is usually attributed to 
the shedding of Christ's blood, Acts xx. 28 ; Rom. v. 9. 
See also Eph. i. 7 ; Col. i. 14 ; Heb. ix. 12. The second, 
to the infusion of his Spirit, 2 Thess. ii. 13 ; 1 Pet. i. 2 ; 
Rom. xv. 16. But this very Spirit comes through Christ; 
and is therefore called the Spirit of Christ, and the gift 
of Christ, John xv. 26, xvi. 7; and comes from the 
Father in the name of Christ, John xiv. 16, 26. And 
his gifts and graces were to be communicated in conse- 
quence of Christ's final triumph, John vii. 39 ; Acts ii. 
33 ; Eph. iv. 8. 

Now we must not suppose that these two blessings 
are so necessarily connected, that one must follow the 
other. Justification, or pardon of sin, implies no more 
in itself than the removal of that guilt and condemnation 


which*exposed the sinner to eternal perdition. This, in 
itself, gives no right to eternal glory. 

Sanctification, or complete holiness, is a meetness for 
glory; but neither does it give any right to heaven. 
Pardon of sin, as an act of God's mercy, does not imply 
the purification of the soul : the first removes the guilt, 
the second takes away the disposition that led to those 
acts of transgression by which this guilt was contracted. 
Who supposes that the king, when, through his royal 
prerogative and clemency, he pardons a man who has 
been capitally convicted of forgery, takes as fully away 
the covetous principle which led him to commit the act, 
as by his pardon he takes away his liability to the 
punishment of the gallows? I produce this instance 
merely to show, that pardon and holiness are not so ne- 
cessarily connected, as that one must imply the other. 
Yet there is every reason to believe, and genuine expe- 
rience in divine things confirms it, that in the act of 
justification, when the Spirit of God, the Spirit of holi- 
ness, is given to bear witness with our spirits that we 
are the children of God, all the outlines of the divine 
image are drawn upon the soul ; and it is the work of 
the Holy Spirit, in our sanctification, to touch off and 
fill up all those outlines, till every feature of the divine 
likeness is filled up and perfected. Therefore, no be- 
liever should ever rest till he find the whole body of sin 
and death destroyed ; and till the law of the Spirit of 
life in Christ Jesus have made him free from the law of 
sin and death. 

I have said that neither justification nor sanctification 
gives a right to glory. Mere innocence is not entitled 
to reward ; and mere meetness for a thing or place is no 
proof of right to possession. The fact is, that the right 
to that glory comes merely by Jesus Christ, and is the 


effect of his infinite merit ; and here the excellence and 
perfection of that merit appear. The merit must he in- 
finite that can rescue the soul from deserved endless 
punishment ; the merit must he infinite that can give a 
man a title to eternal glory. Now the text states, that 
an exemption from endless torments, and a title to and 
meetness for eternal glory, come hy Christ, as the gifts 
of God's love. And as to he saved from eternal perdition 
is of infinite value to an immortal soul; and as the 
enjoyment of God, in his own heavens, throughout eter- 
nity, is of infinite worth ; and both these are attributed 
to Christ's giving himself for us ; therefore Christ's merit 
must be infinite, and it could not be so were he not 
properly and essentially God. Thus we are led back to 
the point from which we set out ; and the postulates on 
the premises amount to demonstration in the conclusion. 
We were obliged to commence with the deity of Christ ; 
as most obviously nothing less could have been adequate 
to the work which was given him to do ; and the work 
which he has done, and the blessings which he has ac- 
quired, demonstrate his infinite merit, and thus prove 
the point of his essential divinity. 

I have only one word to add to what has already been 
said ; and that shall refer to the incomprehensibility of 
that love which induced God to give his Son for the re- 
demption of the world. " God so loved the world," says 
the text, ovtu) rjyaTrrjaev 6 Geog: no description of this 
love is here attempted ; its length, breadth, depth, and 
height are like the nature of that God in whom it re- 
sides; all indescribable, because all incomprehensible. 
To the same subject the apostle recurs, 1 Epist. iii. 1 : 
" Behold what manner of love, -KOTarciiv ayanriv, the 
Father hath bestowed upon us !" In the ovtcj, so, of the 
gospel, and the iroTcnrriv, what manner, of the epistle, 


God has put an eternity of meaning; and has left a 
subject for everlasting contemplation, wonder, and praise 
to angels and men ; for though not directly interested in 
the subject, yet " these things the angpls desire to look 
into." And to see them in all their relations, connexions, 
and endlessly continued results, would be sufficient to 
constitute a heaven of heavens to all beatified spirits, 
were there no other subjects relative to creation, provi- 
dence, and the economy of grace, to be investigated in a 
future state. 

I shall now conclude with the principles with which 
I commenced. From the text, and the reasonings on it, 
it appears evident, — 

1. That the world — the whole human race, was in a 
ruinous condemned state, in danger of perishing ever- 
lastingly ; and without power to rescue itself from the 
impending destruction. 

2. That God, through the impulse of his own infi- 
nite love and innate goodness, provided for its rescue 
and salvation, by giving his only-begotten Son to die 
for it. 

3. That the sacrificial death of Jesus was the only 
means by which the redemption of the world could have 
been effected ; and such is the nature of this Sacrifice, 
that it is absolutely sufficient to accomplish this gracious 
design ; nothing greater could be given, and nothing less 
could have been availing. 

4. That sin is an inconceivable evil, and possesses an 
indescribable malignity ; when it required no less a sacri- 
fice to make atonement for it than that offered by God 
manifested in the flesh. 

5. That no man is saved through this Sacrifice but he 
who believes ; i. e., who credits what God has spoken 
concerning this Christ : — his sacrifice ; the end for which 


it was offered ; and the way in which it is to be applied, 
in order to its becoming effectual. 

6. That they who believe secure a double benefit : 
1. They are exempted from eternal perdition — "that they 
should not perish." 2. They are brought to eternal glory, 
— " that they should have everlasting life ;" this double 
benefit proving, 1. That man is guilty, is exposed to 
punishment, and needs pardon. 2. That man is impure 
and unholy, and therefore unfit for the glory of God. 
3. That the merit must be infinite which procured for a 
fallen world such ineffable privileges ; and, 4. That man 
owes to God his Creator, to God his Redeemer, and to 
God his Sanctifier, the utmost gratitude, the most affec- 
tionate obedience, and unbounded praises throughout 

Therefore, "to Him who hath loved us, and washed 
us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us 
kings and priests unto God and his Father, to him be 
glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen !"